Last night I went to see Ani Difranco at New York City’s town hall. In the past 7 years or so I’ve gone to about six or seven Ani concerts, and each one has been unbelievably awesome. Town Hall was no exception. Ani’s an exquisitely powerful and dynamic performer. Throughout the show she rocked no less than 6 different guitars (all tuned differently, I assume) along with her 3-piece band. She played a fantastic mix of old and new songs, including some essential Ani classics, opening with Napoleon and closing with Both Hands and 32 Flavors (the first time I had ever seen her perform Both Hands). Ani’s inter-song bantor is priceless; whether she’s talking about her daughter, her band, nuclear development, or how she loves New York so, she’s always warm, funny and entertaining.
One of the opening “acts” for Ani was, yes, Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. One of Ani’s most current issues is the construction of nuclear reactors and the dumping of high-level radio active waste throughout the U.S. Kucinich spoke for a few minutes before Ani’s set on sustainable energy issues and environmental justice. But the real treat came at the very end of the show when Dennis came back on stage for the encore, kissing Ani on both cheeks and then picking up a shaker to play 32 Flavors. His sincere and goofy grin as he played along next to Ani was truly the most priceless and memorable thing I have yet to see from any presidential candidate.
(Apologies for the poor photo quality. I had only my cell phone on me, but had to get one of Dennis and Ani together. Kucinich is third from the left, in the black blazer behind the second guitar player. Ani of course, front and center.)