Jewel opens up to fans

Those who were hoping for an up close and personal look at Jewel got their wish when the singer performed at the Coronado Theatre March 17.

Armed with just an acoustic guitar, Jewel delivered a set full of folky pop songs that perfectly fit the intimate venue. The knowledgeable crowd responded enthusiastically to not only her popular singles, but to lesser-known numbers as well. With ticket prices ranging from $38.50 to $48.50, there were few casual fans in attendance. To justify the cost, Jewel performed a 17-song set and continually interacted with the audience.

Jewel called two energetic fans on stage to help her sing “Boy Needs A Bike (Ride Away)” and provided explanations for many of her songs. The crowd seemed to particularly enjoy “You Were Meant For Me” and “Who Will Save Your Soul” from her 1995 debut album, Pieces of You. Jewel also played a slower, simpler version of “Intuition,” a track from her latest CD, 0304, that was well received.

It was quite impressive that Jewel could carry herself completely without the aid of backup musicians. Most current pop singers could not survive in that setting.

Although she is a very capable musician, the show did become rather repetitive after a while. Jewel tried to offset this by adding vocal variations and changing the tempo on some of her songs, but it was not enough at times. She might have had more momentum if she had been supported by a full band. Most audience members, however, did not seem to mind and delighted in every minute of her performance.

Jewel was preceded by Joe Firstman, a talented singer, pianist and guitarist from Charlotte, N.C. The majority of his material came from his new album, The War Of Women. Firstman displayed a great amount of potential, and with a little guidance, he could go a long way. His latest single, “Now You’re Gorgeous, Now You’re Gone,” shows that he is headed in the right direction.

Jewel ended the concert with an informal question and answer session with the audience and a duet with Firstman. While it was an unconventional approach for an encore, it did not seem that out of place due to the rapport she had already established with the crowd.

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