Last night, my best friend and I went to the last show of Ingrid Michaelson’s A Summer Night Out Tour, my third and final concert of the summer. You might know Ingrid only by some of her most popular songs, “The Way I Am,” “Maybe,” and “Be OK,” or by her most recent singles, “Girls Chase Boys” and “Afterlife.” But Ingrid is one of my favorite singers of all time, mostly for her exquisite lyricism, poignant instrumentation, and understated yet powerful voice. I couldn’t wait to finally see her perform after adoring her music for three years.
Her first opening act was the band, Secret Someones. And let me tell you, they were fantastic. They’re a really interesting assortment of people: three fierce female front-women (à la Haim) and a talented male drummer. They had all of the power and energy of a 2000s punk girl band (with an 80s twist) but with the sharp clarity and harmony of a choir. One of my favorite songs that they played was “I Won’t Follow,” so make sure to check out the video.
Ingrid’s second opener was the three-man band, Jukebox the Ghost. Although I didn’t like them as much as Secret Someones, they did put on a good-mood set to get everybody ready for A Summer Night Out– after the rain! There was practically a monsoon coming down during their sound check, and despite the fact that we were under cover, the storm terrified the crowd and even briefly flooded parts of the venue. Thankfully, it calmed down enough for Jukebox the Ghost to get their jam on.
They also had a very unique sound; they reminded me of A Great Big World with their spotlight on the piano, but they incorporated some groovy WALK THE MOON elements. I wished that they would have had a few more instruments (i.e. bass guitar) to give them a fuller sound (especially when they performed Queen’s classic, “Somebody to Love”), but they did a bang-up job for only three members. Keyboardist Ben Thornewill played a heartwarming rendition of their song, “Undeniable You,” and they concluded with the get-up-and-dance song, “Somebody.”
And finally, Ingrid performed. She opened with one of my favorite songs of hers (and my favorite on her newest album, Lights Out), “Time Machine,” a fiery anthem of regret with some killer saxophone. After getting the crowd pumped up, she brought in some of her older songs: the cheery, “Everybody;” the calculated “Overboard;” the jazzy “Black and Blue;” and the gentle “Keep Breathing.” Surprisingly, she played only a few songs from Lights Out (“Home,” “Afterlife,” “Girls Chase Boys,” and “Warpath”) and instead sang a plethora of her classics, including “Be OK,” “You and I,” and “The Way I Am.”
And she’s giving Ed Sheeran–who I call “The King of Covers”–a run for his money. She, Allie Moss (a member of her band), and Bess Rogers of Secret Someones sang an angelic version of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” and in honor of the Supreme Court case legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S., she sang Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” in front of a projection of rainbow lights.
While singing her song, “Soldier,” each of the members of her band chose a song with the same chord progression to cover: Ingrid started with Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface,” and her band covered everything from U2’s “With or Without You” to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, they all sang their songs over each other to create a harmonious symbol of individuals coming together.
Not to mention, her revamped version of “Fire” blew me away. After belting her way through the entire song, she and all of her band played drums in unison to form a percussion orchestra that killed it in the encore. It was definitely her best rendition of an older song at the concert.
One thing that has perplexed me about the show, though, is that I didn’t cry. A lot of times at live shows of artists I really care about, I just can’t help but lose it a little bit during the more emotional songs. So I was trying my best in the hours leading up to the show to prepare myself for seeing the goddess-like human being who is Ingrid Michaelson.
But what surprised me was that she didn’t seem like a goddess. She seemed like your older sister’s kooky, quirky best friend. Like that girl who practically lives in that indie coffee shop. Like that girl you met at that party that one time who complimented you on your necklace, and you still remember it even now because she was just so weirdly cool.
She seemed like what we all want weird to be: interesting, appealing, unique.
But she didn’t seem untouchable. While she shared goofy stories about her band and called them all “assholes,” and while she laughed off their goofy pranks involving plastic spoons and a giant cutout of her head, and while she made accidental dirty jokes and boasted Entenmann’s donuts at her meet-and-greet, she seemed like just one of us. Just a weird person who happens to make beautiful music. It was an interesting moment of seeing the real person behind the voice that has mesmerized me for three years.
And the concert wasn’t supposed to make me cry; she could have played some magnificently sad songs, but that wasn’t the vibe. It was A Summer Night Out, like a barbecue or a bonfire, a celebration of friends and music and memories. As she, her band, and the two openers sang the final song– Icona Pop and Charli XCX’s summer jam, “I Love It”–everyone was jumping up and down and dancing just like they would with their best friends, screaming the words like they would in their cars with the windows rolled down. Having a blast at Ingrid’s last Summer Night Out.