Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 64° Clear
A&E >  Entertainment

Review: Brandi Carlile gathers friends, including Sheryl Crow and Soundgarden, and family at the Gorge

Aug. 19, 2021 Updated Thu., Aug. 19, 2021 at 3:01 p.m.

Brandi Carlile attends the iHeartRadio Music Awards at the Dolby Theatre on May 27, in Los Angeles.  (Chris Pizzelo/Invision/AP)
Brandi Carlile attends the iHeartRadio Music Awards at the Dolby Theatre on May 27, in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzelo/Invision/AP)

Brandi Carlile was playing for the home state crowd Saturday for her “Echoes Through the Canyon” show at the Gorge Amphitheatre. That was never more apparent than when she unveiled her big surprise of the night. About 90 minutes into her two-hour set, she welcomed the surviving members of Soundgarden – Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepard – to the stage.

“You ready to sing? To scream? For one of the best rock bands in the world?” Carlile asked the crowd before launching into two songs with the group, “Black Hole Sun” and “Searching With My Good Eye Closed.” She sang with purpose, more than doing justice to the late Chris Cornell’s lyrics.

And while those two songs were probably the big headline of the night, they only added to a great night that often felt like a gathering of friends and family. (The family part was literal – at one point, her daughter came out onstage, at another point her niece and nephew joined her, and there’s a web of blood and related-by-marriage relationships among the band members.)

Other highlights:

The music, of course. From the start with “Looking Out” to the encore, Carlile and the band were in fine form. Carlile was joined onstage by her longtime bandmates and co-writers, twins Tim and Phil Hanseroth, as well as Shooter Jennings on piano, two percussionists and three strings (who did double duty as backup singers and on other instruments).

It could have all been too much, but it wasn’t. Sometimes, it was just Carlile with her guitar or on the piano. Sometimes, it was Carlile and the twins harmonizing. The other musicians wove in and out seamlessly throughout the night. And those harmonies – wow.

The stories. Carlile is a storyteller (appropriate since her breakout single was “The Story”). And, this is where being in her home state made the stories that much more fun. She talked about the early days when she and the Hanseroth twins would play the Crocodile Cafe, about gardening during the pandemic (as a lead in to a new song, “You and Me on the Rock” – which will be released this fall on “In These Silent Days”), about her family and online schooling and her daughter’s first-grade teacher who sang “Country Roads” – even though she knew Carlile could hear her.

And, she talked about going to concerts at the Gorge and how they changed her life. “I’ve spent a lot of time out there on that hillside,” she said, mentioning shows like Dave Matthews Band, Indigo Girls and Lilith Fair – featuring opener Sheryl Crow. “I get really emotional and nostalgic every time I’m here.”

Sheryl Crow. Crow kicked off her set with “Everyday Is a Winding Road,” and kept the hits coming, including “My Favorite Mistake,” “Leaving Las Vegas” and “Soak Up the Sun.” Carlile joined Crow onstage for “If It Makes You Happy,” and Crow returned the favor during Carlile’s set for a cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter

Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.