Ingrid Michaelson Gets Her Strange On In LA. Check out our photos and recap of The Dramatic Tour at The Wiltern Theatre.
LOS ANGELES, CA- If you were to take a poll on what tv show people binge the most, Netflix’s Stranger Things would likely top the list. The Sci-Fi thriller, set in the ’80s, has become a worldwide phenomenon. People are seriously obsessed with the show and pop singer song-writer Ingrid Michaelson is definitely one of those people.
The singer’s latest album “Stranger Songs” is an 11 track homage to the nostalgic show and all of the songs were written in the narrative of the show’s different characters. Being a Stranger Things fan myself, I was absolutely curious to hear Michaelson’s take on the show through music and lyrics. When I listened to it and pieced together which character each song referred to, it was as if I could see the musical version coming to life, scene by scene. Fabulous writing. She did such an awesome job delving into the characters’ psyche and it makes sense that Michaelson nailed it the way she did, given that she is also currently working on a musical adaptation of The Notebook. But what’s especially great about the album is that you don’t have to be a fan of the show to appreciate it, the songs still have universally relatable themes and are catchy as hell.
Last week in LA, Michaelson brought the songs to life at The Wiltern Theatre for a stop on The Dramatic Tour. Considering that Stranger Songs marks her ninth studio album, Michaelson has built a solid fan base and it was a packed house, filled with fans of all ages.
Opening the night was indie-pop singer and American Idol season 16 winner, Maddie Poppe. The Iowa native was a perfect act to start the night, as her music and style are very reminiscent to Michaelson’s early years and the 21-year-old has even stated before that Michaelson had an extraordinary influence on her career.
Poppe’s debut album “Whirlwind” was released earlier this year and the singer played a handful of songs from the record, including “Postcard From Me,” “Not Losing You,” and “Nothing Good Comes Out Of California.” Before the song “Roses,” Poppe told the crowd a story about how after she won Idol she was really down and felt guilty for feeling sad after such an amazing thing happened. She heard a quote -“Just because someone’s in a full-body cast, it doesn’t mean your broken arm doesn’t hurt-” and it resonated with her. She said she realized it was okay to feel how she felt and was inspired to write the song “Roses.”
A stand out for me was the song, “Made You Miss Me.” It has a bit of a country edge to it and it sounded really big live. It definitely has hit potential on it. She ended her set with a cover of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay. Her performance was well-received by the crowd.
Michaelson’s name was illuminated on stage in the same font style as her Stranger Songs logo, which of course is in the same vein as the inspired tv show’s logo. Fans cheered in anticipation. Michaelson was all smiles and waves as she and her band took the stage. She started the night with the opening song from the new album “Freak Show” and continued with two more new ones “Jealous” and the very upbeat pop song “Missing You.” Her style has definitely evolved more into the pop world on this album. The latter mentioned song had the crowd dancing right along. She followed the pop tune with the popular “Be Ok” and the fans were over the moon to hear the folky jam.
The set included a good mix of new songs and the older fan favorites sprinkled with a few covers in between. A highlight in the set was when she brought opener Maddie Poppe back out on stage to duet with her on the 2008 hit “You and I.” It was a feel-good moment with the crowd singing along to the sweet chorus, “Oh let’s get rich and give everyone nice sweaters and teach them how to dance.”
Another highlight was a cover of the Cyndi Lauper classic “Time After Time.” That’s a song that will never get old. The timeless song wasn’t the only cover that Michaelson included in her setlist. She also did justice to the classic Elvis Presley ballad “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” I’m pretty sure this version has been played at a few weddings I’ve attended and it always hits me in all the feels. A more cheeky cover was the theme song to the 80’s cult classic kid movie “The Never Ending Story,” which is yet another Stranger Things reference, as it was a featured song in the last season. Though it was a fun throwback, it’s such a cheesy song, I couldn’t get into it at all. Luckily she followed it with the popular “Girls Chase Boys” which had the audience bouncing along.
Michaelson also gave us a preview to one of the songs from the Notebook musical called, “Words.” I’m a Broadway geek and LOVED the Notebook, (A female fan of the Notebook, shocking, I know) so I cannot wait for this musical. New songs “Christmas Lights,” and “Best Friend” were received well by the crowd. “Young and in Love” is also a new song but the fans’ reaction to it made it feel like it had been in her catalog for years.
At one point in the night, Michaelson took her denim jean jacket off and jokingly told the crowd “This is all my budget will allow for a wardrobe change.” Michaelson engaged with her fans a lot throughout the night and had great energy while performing. You could tell she was having so much fun on stage. She treated the fans to a couple more favorite songs such as “The Way I Am,” and “Light Me Up” and ended the night with a cover of Madonna’s “Material Girl.”
It was a feel-good kind of show and everyone walked out with smiles on their faces. The only complaint I have is when I got home, I couldn’t get the damn Never Ending Story song out of my head. AHHHH AHHHH AHHHH AHHHH AHHHH!