Extraordinary night for Moore

A review of Mandy Moore at the Paradise Rock Club on September 16, 2007

, Staff Writer

Shifting effortlessly between songstress, storyteller and comedienne, Mandy Moore visibly demonstrated that she is at her happiest when she is on stage. The multi-talented singer/songwriter/actress/designer entertained the intimate crowd at the Paradise Rock Club on Sunday night with not only her commanding vocals (no lip-synching here kids!), but also with her endearing ‘girl next door’ charm and mega watt smile.&

Touring in support of her recently released album Wild Hope, Moore’s thoughtful and surprisingly mature lyrics for a 23-year old proved that she has indeed graduated from her bubblegum pop-star status of the late 90s. During her 60-minute set Moore put her own folksy yet poppy, sweet yet sexy, fragile yet strong, and serious yet goofy spin on a mix of both original and cover tunes.

Clad in a demure black knit dress (Mblem by Mandy Moore, perhaps?) and flats, Moore opened the set with “Slummin’ in Paradise”, “All Good Things”, then emphasized the personal nature of her album with “Looking Forward to Looking Back”, a song written about being positive after saying goodbye when a relationship ends.

Deviating from her original songs, Moore brilliantly performed “Moonshadow” off her 2003 release, Coverage. The song, which was originally recoded by Cat Stevens in 1971, perfectly suited Moore’s soft& voice and earthy look.& &

After gushing about her talented supporting acts and their ability to inspire her night after night, Moore invited opening act Rachel Yamagata to join her on stage. The ladies, who had previously bonded over songwriting, bad relationships, and margaritas, sang “Ladies Choice”, a song co-written about, you guessed it, bad relationships! With Yamagata staying on stage, Moore shifted to a recently re-mixed, re-recoded, and sexier version of “Wild Hope”.

Keeping the energy high, Moore played the first single off Wild Hope, “Extraordinary”, a song about finally being happy with who she is. She followed with a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me”. Ever the evolving artist, Moore recently added musician to her list of talents by learning how to play guitar. Showcasing her newfound skill, and doing her best to hide her nerves, she delivered “Adore Her” along with her acoustic six-string. Working out the kinks before the next morning’s performance on The View, Moore rounded out the main set with Wild Hope’s next single, “Nothing That You Are”.

Back on the main stage with just a piano, Moore showcased her powerful melodic voice with the emotional ballad “Gardenia”.& The highlight of the night was a brilliantly executed cover of this summer’s number one smash hit, Rihanna’s “Umbrella”.& With her voice as the focal point, Moore\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s version may actually be better than the original.&

Sadly, Moore should have ended the set there. With the audience chanting for her to sing the song that catapulted her into the spotlight when she was fifteen, she complied. Clearly indecisive about closing her set with the tune, she stated, “I can’t do this, I need to have some dignity, I am twenty three years old!” But the fans won over and she reluctantly performed “Candy”. Though it was an edgier and more mature version of the song, her heart clearly was not into it.&

Opening in support of Moore were Rachel Yamagata and Chris Stills.

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