It was an evening of beautiful feminine strength, powerful messages and sweet solidarity. Devoted fans gathered to see Ani DiFranco in a sold out show on February 15th at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Starting the night off was the beautiful indie folk songbird, Jesca Hoop. Supporting the 2019 release of her fifth studio album, Stonechild, Hoop’s acoustic performance was eclectic, diverse and mesmerizing. Opening with her song “DNR”, a song dedicated to her father, Hoop also shared that she grew up listening to and singing a lot of Ani DiFranco songs and how grateful she was to be touring with her.
Cleverly mixing story with song, DiFranco told fans of her 18-year-old self…
The highly anticipated singer/author Ani DiFranco came onstage next, full of energy, greeting fans at the barricade, shaking hands before launching into her tremendous set of well-rounded new songs and — as DiFranco said — a “crusty old one too”. Accompanying her onstage were longtime bandmates, drummer Terence Higgins and bassist Todd Sickafoose. Cleverly mixing story with song, DiFranco told fans of her 18-year-old self who signed up for a talent show in Buffalo, NY and won with the song “Out of Habit”. She then played the song to fans, who exuberantly sang along. She also spoke about her firm belief in a woman’s right to reproductive freedom before launching into “Lost Woman”. Fans also sang along to favorites, like “As Is”, before bringing out Jesca Hoop to help perform a beautiful new song, “When It’s Done”.
Ironically, a fight broke out while she introduced her new song, “Revolutionary Love”: a song dedicated to her friend Valerie, who taught her you must tend to the wound within yourself to heal and that if you don’t, you can turn that on other people. You must look through to the wound and tend to it the best you can… and then an altercation broke out. As the real class act that she is, Ani addressed the situation from the stage and apologized to anyone that was injured as she continued to share her beautiful new song.
Closing out the night, Ani came back out for a fiery two-song encore, which included “Fire Door” and “Overlap”, clearly leaving fans wanting more. If you missed the show or didn’t quite get enough, be sure to catch her with the marvelous Liz Phair soon in San Diego and beyond!
Photography by Jenni Lynne