Ingrid Michaelson: The Pageant, St. Louis, MO 7/2/08

Moments before Ingrid Michaelson took The Pageant’s stage, you could sense an eerie division in the crowd.  On the floor, where you couldn’t bring your alcohol, you had the presumably under-21 fans, equipped with their iPhones and digital cameras (they were everywhere!), texting their friends, waiting for one of their heroes to appear before them. And just behind and to the sides of them were the ones in their reserved seats, equally happy, perhaps letting a few yawns escape their mouths, but still focused.  This group wasn’t about to stand, not envying their pre-21 days on this evening; but thankfully, both groups shared a common trait:  not a word was heard from them all night.
This was scary silence, enough for Michaelson to remark about it a few times in wonder; I also had a feeling she was cherishing it.  And although she seemed down most of the night because it was the last stop on her headlining tour, the singer-songwriter from Staten Island gazed happily at her followers in a hushed room and opened with the popular “Breakable,” smiling while singing the lyrics about human fragility. 

Michaelson, however, does not appear to be the least bit fragile.  She showed off her sense of humor to the crowd, joking that she wanted to “make out with them” and “feel them up.”  And later in the night, before treating everyone to her Old Navy commercial hit, “The Way I Am,” she busted out a couple raps – “Ice Ice Baby” and the theme to “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”  Yeah, I’d say she’s quite a talent.

But what’s most impressive about Miss Michaelson as a live performer is her ability to be patient.  On songs like “The Hat” and “Masochist,” not once did she seem to rush or show concern that something was wrong – she properly allowed time and space to fix anything that had gone sour and let her sweet voice fill the cracks.  She smiled, she stood strong, and we in the crowd ate it up, rightfully so. 

Her band was even likeable, especially the humble Allie Moss on guitar and backing vocals.  She didn’t say much – or move much – but she was solid, nailing every tune that she helped start; Moss even got to shine on vocals during “The Chain” and “Corner of Your Heart,” proving she’s got her own star power.

Michaelson closed the show with a memorable version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on her trusty ukulele.  And as she stood to say goodbye to her two silent and separate groups of friends, it was clear she had made one group out of all of us: admirers.

Live photo by Jill Norath

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