LIVE: Rosanne Raneri & Bryan Thomas @ Steamer No. 10 Theatre, 4/14/12

Rosanne Raneri and Bryan Thomas

Rosanne Raneri and Bryan Thomas

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Jason Spiro

OK, it’s a cliche. I know it’s a cliche. And I pretty much just hate it when a concert reviewer says something like “Hearing them play (insert name of fave song here) was worth the price of admission all by itself.”

But this time I can’t help it because it’s true. So true…

I would have easily paid the price of admission – $15 at the door with a discount to advance tix buyers – to hear the Capital Region’s two finest singer-songwriters join forces for a song – pretty much any song.

And on Saturday night, Rosanne Raneri and Bryan Thomas did just that. But not before they each served up exquisite solo sets. Neither one of them performs in concert very often – which is a crying shame or downright criminal, depending on your point of view – but the intimate setting of the Steamer was the perfect setting for the sublime music of these two uber talents.

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Thomas was up first, and he was in fine form, delving into topics of gender, race, religion and sex as he wended his way through a batch of old favorites – the hyper waltz-time “Tiresas” and the tongue-twisting, stream-of-unconsciousness rap “Six” – and more recent selections from his “Smash to Pieces” EP, like the opening soul-rock of “Reunion.” He had a few surprises up his sleeve, too, debuting a pair of brand new songs, including “Window,” a taut tune inspired by the 1976 film “Network.”

Back after a too-long hiatus from music, the charmingly nervous Raneri sounded as utterly mesmerizing as ever – maybe more so. Her achingly intimate songs – especially “China” and “Equator” – created whole worlds. She examined the landmines scattered throughout the landscape of the heart before finally celebrating the liberation of her closing “Frantic and Weightless.”

And then, as hoped for, Thomas returned to the stage and strapped on his electric guitar to join Raneri in a handful of delicious duets – Raneri’s “I Won’t Show Me,” Thomas’ exultant “Babylon” and soul-stoked reading of Aretha Franklin’s “Baby, I Love You.”

But it was an emotionally crushing rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” that was worth the price of admission all by itself. Trading off verses, Raneri and Thomas created something much more than just a song, transforming it into a heavenly hymn:

ROSANNE RANERI SET LIST
Conquered
China
Equator
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (a cappella)
Don’t Be Afraid to Choose (Violets)
Shifted
Resurrection
Frantic and Weightless

BRYAN THOMAS SET LIST
Reunion
Tiresias
Six
Perfect
Lights
Window (new)
(new song)
Breathe
Jennifer

ROSANNE RANERI/BRYAN THOMAS SET LIST
I Won’t Show Me (Raneri)
A Case of You (Joni Mitchell)
Baby, I Love You (Aretha Franklin)
Babylon (Thomas)
ENCORE
MotherJudge (Thomas)

Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas

Rosanne Raneri

Rosanne Raneri

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One Response to “LIVE: Rosanne Raneri & Bryan Thomas @ Steamer No. 10 Theatre, 4/14/12”

  1. Annine Everson says:

    It was magic, all of it !!

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