Jewel brought her one woman tour to the Florida Theater last night and sparkled like the true gem she is. Her set started with a pre-recorded message played with an empty, barely lit stage. The stage was set like an old fashioned theater with a raised round stage in the center, flanked by wooden theater seats and large movie can lights backed by beautiful swag draperies. The message was a short recap of the “best worst time” of her life and her drive to alter the course of her life.
Jewel stepped onto the raised stage and sang an a cappella rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Her rendition was by far the best version of this classic song I have ever heard since Judy Garland performed it. This stellar performance set the stage for what was to be an amazing night of stories of Jewel‘s life and incredible vocals. She gave the audience admission to the most meaningful happenings in her often troubled past such as being raised by an alcoholic father in a house with no plumbing; leaving home at the tender age of fifteen; being homeless and living out of a car until it was stolen; shoplifting groceries to survive; traveling to mexico and being part of a drug bust with the federales; deciding to take control of her thoughts and actions to change the direction of her life; being discovered while singing at a coffee shop; having her first album become a huge success; and about being divorced and starting over. All of these events were not only recounted by Jewel with honesty and a lot of humor, but formed the basis for the songs she has written and performed over the years. Plain Jane , My Father’s Daughter, Angel Standing By, Standing Still, and Missing In My Life all relate specifically to Jewel‘s adventurous life.
The range of her vocals and the power of her voice are perfect for an acoustic intimate venue like the Florida Theater. The breadth of her musical choices is unbelievable, ranging from country to blues to pop effortlessly; at times filling the theater with raw power and then becoming soft and almost childlike in timbre. After singing several audience requests such as You Were Meant For Me, Intuition, and Goodby Alice In Wonderland, Jewel closed her set with Who Will Save Your Soul. Following thunderous applause and cries for more, Jewel returned to the stage and once again enthralled the audience with an a cappella operatic aria and then followed that with amazing yodelling of Chime Bells which her father taught her at the age of 5.
I have always enjoyed Jewel‘s singing, but her tour is a complete immersion into her magnificent musical ability, her amazing writing talents, and her joy of life.