Melissa Etheridge rocks the SF Symphony 

click to enlarge Melissa Etheridge
  • courtesy photo
  • Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge is excited to be playing with a full orchestra behind her on her summer tour.
If all she offered was musical prowess, award-winning singer-songwiter Melissa Etheridge would bring enough to any stage. What’s likely to also radiate from the Davies Hall stage is an intelligent, easy, raspy joie de vivre that is pretty infectious.

“This is a dream come true,” she enthuses about her appearance this week with the San Francisco Symphony. “When I was a kid, one of my favorite albums was the London Symphony Orchestra’s version of [the Who’s] ‘Tommy.’ I played with the Boston Pops about two months ago, and then at the Chicago Symphony. There’s nothing like it. Just me rocking out with a full symphony behind me!”

The concerts will feature hits from her catalog and new material, like the recent single “Let Me Take You Home,” which is part of an album she’s releasing later this year. The song explores a chance encounter between two people who used to know each other long ago. One’s a little drunk, hence the title, and it could easily be inferred as referencing a reconnecting with lost high school love.

Etheridge provides an intriguing alternative view. “What if I, after my last break-up, I just went home? You know, just started all over again. I never would or could, but, you know, what if? A lot of your dreams are not quite as you had planned when you were in your 20s. You’re learning life’s lessons and yet never give up because you don’t know what might happen tonight. So in the song I made myself be both characters.”

The album is part of a new career phase for the two-time Grammy winner. After years of relying on Island Records, Etheridge is taking a more hands-on approach to her music management. “It’s the first time I own my own record. It’s distributed through Caroline Records, but I own it. I’m in charge of all of it.“

“The process of making the album was a little different for me. It was more collaborative than it usually is,” she said.

By that she means demoing songs for prospective producers to see what clicks rather than holing up by herself in a studio.

On the personal side, Etheridge is equally effusive. She’s feeling third-time lucky in her new marriage to television writer-producer Linda Wallem (“Cybill,” “Nurse Jackie”). The couple had been friends for a decade before romance blossomed. “Sometimes we have to get knocked over the head a couple of times before we recognize the good stuff.”

IF YOU GO

Melissa Etheridge

Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday

Tickets: $15 to $60

Contact: (415) 864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org

About The Author

Robert Sokol

Robert Sokol

Bio:
Robert Sokol is the editor at BAYSTAGES, the creative director at VIA MEDIA, and a lifelong arts supporter. Diva wrangler, cinefiler, and occasional saloon singer, he has been touching showbiz all his life. (So far no restraining orders have been issued!)... more
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