Tracy Chapman: Our Bright Future | The Auditorium, Rome | 27 July, 2009

Tracy Chapman in Rome 2009The hugely talented singer-songwriter and guitarist Tracy Chapman has been a frequent visitor to the Eternal City over the last few years, and judging from the warmth of the welcome she was given by the audience in the Cavea at the Auditorium Music Park as part of the Luglio Suona Bene concert programme, Rome is happy to have her back!

She seemed in a buoyant mood and the sometimes shy performer chatted between songs about visiting the sights of Rome the previous day, inviting us to look up at the gorgeous crescent moon that was rising over the Auditorium, and introducing and explaining a little about the new tracks on the set list. The concert last night, in fact, was the closing date of a full band European tour promoting her eighth album Our Bright Future, and she played several songs from this latest outing - the lovely Sing For You, the humorous I Did it All and the ironic take on religious fanaticism Save Us All - as well as some of her greatest mainstream successes. After opening with the powerfully political America from her penultimate album Where You Live, she surprisingly went straight into one of the great sing-along crowd pleasers Baby Can I Hold You. I’ll never tire of hearing Tracy Chapman sing those early songs and was delighted that she included four further tracks from her first self-titled album - Fast Car, Talkin’ Bout a Revolution, For My Lover as well as She's Got Her Ticket as part of the encore - but one of the absolute highlights for me has to be Give Me One Reason. After one full slower blues version she then decided to ratchet up the volume and gave us part two - a full, start-to-finish rock-blues version too! Brilliant.

During this tour she’s been playing a special cover version each night, although she confessed that they’ve sometimes repeated themselves, however, the cover version for Rome for the evening was a one-off. If you wanted to catch Tracy Chapman play Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi you had to have been there last night! She closed the show with a stunning Proud Mary. A wonderful evening - can’t wait for next time!