Photos by Vito Ingerto
It’s been 30 years since Tongues And Tails was released, catapulting Sophie B Hawkins into our lives. “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” was one of the first releases from her debut album, and it spent 21
weeks on the Billboard charts. The music was hypnotic, but it was the lyrics which hit the hardest. Heartfelt and honest, the words articulated the stinging emotion of love unattainable. The music of that
album broke down the complexities of relationships with a raw openness that defied gender and genre. But perseverance and resolve also resonated throughout the album. A sense of
kinesthetic freedom pervaded. Weave in emancipation, confidence and self-love, too. She brought all this plus copious amounts of positivity to her performance at the Dakota Friday night.
Seth Glier warmed up the crowd with several soulful original songs prior to the main event. His wonderful engagement with the crowd created a cozy environment in the venue that would continue once he was joined by the others.
Sophie B Hawkins was beaming as she approached the microphone on the Dakota Jazz Club stage. The positive energy she radiated was genuinely contagious. The intimacy of the Dakota blurred the lines between audience and artist, the show was kind of like having a friend over whom you haven’t seen in a long time but immediately reconnect with, transported to the last time you were together. The opener, “Mysteries We Understand”, was a banger, and had some people in the Dakota out of their chairs. She highlighted the boisterous opening selection with a deft djembe drum exhibition.
Hawkins donned an acoustic guitar for “Before I Walk On Fire”, slowing the pace a bit, but hitting the high notes of the tune with perfection. She was joined on stage by Glier and Katie Marie Richards,
outstanding musicians in their own right. Katie Marie handled most of the percussion for the show, with some acoustic guitar mixed in while Glier switched between the piano and guitar during the set. “As I Lay Me Down”, one of the most upbeat songs about loss, evolved into an audience participation sing along. Her improvised ending to the song evokes one of the loudest audience responses of the night. Surprise of the night was an amazing cover of “Diamonds And Rust”. The version was true to the Joan Baez original, but Hawkins owned it Friday night.
While the majority of the set was selections from Tongues And Tales, Whaler and Timbre, the Dakota was treated to an assortment of new music. “Right Beside You” had an infectious, dance club vibe.
Proving no genre is off limits, Hawkins broke out a verse of rap during the tune, then jammed out on the banjo a couple of songs later on “Lose Your Way”. “Love Yourself” was also one of the new songs they played, but you couldn’t tell that by the way the crowd sang along. Hawkins frequently engaged the audience throughout the set, really creating an intimate atmosphere. During “I Only Hunger For Love” the trio
pulled off some amazing Crosby Stills and Nash like harmonies. “You Are My Balloon” introduced by Hawkins as a song written about her daughter, but really about all relationships, pulled at the heartstrings.
The night ended with “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover”, Hawkins danced to the rhythm of the drums, entranced by the beat. She teased a “Minnesota Damn” out of the Dakota . An appreciative crowd sent the trio off with an extended standing ovation, brimming over with Hawkins infectious energy.