Margo Price Delivers Smoking Performance at LA’s Fonda Theater – Orange County Register

At the end of the show, after nearly two hours on stage, Margo Price ran down to the barricade, leaned into the crowd and belted out a beautiful a cappella rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”.

When she was done, a fan offered her a cigarette. She took a big hit and blew a cloud high over the crowd. Then, with a quick nod to her benefactor, as if to say, “OK, if I take this?” She ran backstage with it.

Here’s how to build your legend with shows like Price’s, which airs Thursday, February 9th at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood.

The finale was both fantastic – Janis covering an insanity – and funny – she hijacked a guy’s smoke. Not that anyone in the crowd wasn’t giving Price what she wanted at that point.

And it left the crowd with another highlight in a night full of them.

Before that, there were two surprise guests, Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten. They joined Price for the songs they made on their new album and then stuck with one of their own. In Campbell’s case, a rough run through the song “You Wreck Me” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

There were better covers, too, including Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” — sung by Price while she pounded on her own drum kit, clad in a glitzy, sparkly catsuit — and Paul McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It” for Van Etten and the opening act Lola Kirke sang backing vocals.

Most importantly, it was Price’s own country, rock, folk and blues songs that have made her one of the brightest talents in the four albums from her 2016 debut Midwest Farmer’s Daughter through to the just-released Strays American Music Today.

Price took the stage following an opening set by Kirke, who, alongside the ’80s-influenced country-pop from her latest album Lady For Sale, is an actress best known for starring in Mozart in the Jungle.

Price’s band – three guitarists, bassist, drummer and husband Jeremy Ivey on keyboards – preceded her and built a groove that broke on “Been To The Mountain” when Price sauntered onto the stage to sing the opening lines.

That rock ‘n’ roll feel continued on “Letting Me Down” and “Four Years of Chances,” older songs but fitting the rock vibes of “Strays,” seven of the 22 songs in their almost two-hour rate were drawn.

“Change of Heart” downshifted in a swampy Southern blues-rock feel, with Price running to the back of the stage to play drums on their own kit while the band jammed up front. “County Road” slowed things down for a softer, wistful voice.

And to this point Tuesday’s show had followed its sets from previous shows across Texas and the Southwest to San Diego. Then the Fonda and the LA audience experienced the first of the special moments that propelled this show above all others on the “Til The Wheels Fall Off” tour, their first tour in five years.

Mike Campbell left Price for “Light Me Up,” a psychedelic rocker he’d worked on for “Strays” — wild applause for a beloved hometown hero — and stayed for his fiery run through “You Wreck Me,” which had the fonda of Floor trembled from the dancing of the crowd.

“Well, I don’t know what we’re going to do now,” Price said with a big grin after Campbell hugged her and left. “But we keep going.”

Things slowed down for the southern rock anthem “Tennessee Song” and the dreamy, softer rock of “All American Made” and “Landfill.” The pace and volume ramped up for Sharon Van Etten’s guest appearances on “Radio,” which the pair sang on Wednesday’s “The Late, Late Show with James Corden,” and Van Etten’s own “Seventeen.”

“That’s How Rumors Get Started,” the title track of their 2022 release, continued in the same mellower mood before, while Price ran offstage for a change of clothes, morphed into a lengthy jam that ended with the guitars yelled and Price looked at her drums again.

From there, the final six songs sped by, with highlights like their own “Twinkle Twinkle” and “Time Machine,” as well as Costello and McCartney covers “Pump It Up” and “Let Me Roll It.”

That left only Price’s powerful cover of “Mercedes Benz”. It’s a great ending and she knows it by using it at this point every night on tour. Tonight, however, it’s nice to imagine that the ghost of Janis Joplin could have felt it a mile and a half across Hollywood and smiled in her last room at the Highland Gardens Hotel. Margo Price Delivers Smoking Performance at LA’s Fonda Theater – Orange County Register

Adam Bradshaw

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