Warning: I am about to GUSH! about an artist. If you have yet to read my review of Tightrope Walker please do so NOW. Better yet, buy this album and buy a concert ticket to see Rachael Yamagata play it live because the music I thought was beautiful on record, I have seen is even moreso in concert.
I came straight from Bowery Ballroom to write this review because, after witnessing Rachael in concert, I could not quell the adrenaline she serves with just her presence. Its not that Rachel is a hard rocker/ raver that bounces off the walls. On the contrary, she is cool and collected in her approach to the stage. She can be describe like a moving statue: for however subtle she moves, her body has a pillar of still firmness coming from within. That firmness is her heart, and it exudes through each and every string she strums, whether vocal or guitar. Yamagata is focused on her music with a concentration and affection one would save for their lover. This might explain why every song Rachael performs carries a hint of flirtation. It is as if she is trying to seduce music to fall in love with her, which makes her audience fall instead. As she plays her guitar and walks around centerstage, she appears like a woman telling her listeners her final confession, and you are left in awe. Raw does not cover the amount of simmering flesh her music carries. For Rachael, a song has to get to the”meat and bones” of being human, which I had hinted in my review, but in concert I had fully received.
Rachael Yamagata’s success as a performer comes from her ability to give her music new life. Words, thoughts, sentiments that had remained untapped when listening to her record, Tightrope Walker, are received when viewing Yamagata in concert. This is not to say that her record, Tightrope Walker, is not phenomenal; it is! Yet, when you see her perform it live, you witness the spirit and creativity she placed behind every song. I was inspired by her performance at witnessing the amount of details Yamagata puts in her tracks to make them feel like cinema shorts into people’s lives and dreams. Each song felt like a distinct and distinguished three minute film that you could see before you through Yamagata’s lush voice. Excuse me as I say, “Wow!”. Every time she sung a note, I felt like someone has handed a batch of rare rubies and gems. I felt richer. Such luxury could come with the fact that Yamagata is slightly theatrical with how she embodies her songs.
There is an acting element to Yamagata’s performance because each track manifests a new layer to her being. The subtle body motions and facial glares that she does when she sings certain lyrics could give me “Jessica Lange” shivers. She plays her songs not only as music, but spirits that she catches to sing and release them unto the audience. Whether she is she is contemplative in Over or sultry in Nobody, no matter what, she is true to her musical character, which makes her one of the most honest performers you will see. Honest? You may ask, “What is an honest performer?”.
An honest performer is someone that holds nothing to that stage. They leave every fiber of their being upon the limelight, and treat their viewers like pages in their diary. Every single viewer of Yamagata’s Bowery Ballroom performance walked out feeling like they had learned an intimacy or truth about her soul, which is exactly what a viewer should feel when leaving a concert. I not only want the hear a singer, I want to see their soul. Thank Rachael for doing that! Click Here for more information on Rachael Yamagata or to buy her album Tightrope Walker.