On Saturday, October 19, Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium begins to fill with women and their significant others, as my roommate and I scan the lower level for our seats. Distracted by the sea of fedoras (sorry ladies, Sara rocks it best), I almost didn’t recognize the tall lengthy woman entering the stage draped in an oversized thrift shop-esque sweater. It’s none other the queen of quirky herself, Sara Bareilles. I try to keep my fan-girling in check as she welcomes us all to the last show of her “Blessed Unrest” Tour.
She assures us that Athens could not have been the better place to end her tour, but come on really? The only performer who frequents OU because they enjoy it so much is Agent Cody Banks himself, Frankie Muniz, and his band “Tinfoil”… oops I mean “Kingsfoil”!
Back to Sara. The show begins with the opening act, Harper Blynn, who seem to be a grungy group of hipsters. Yet their voices are that of a choir of angels. Although their choice of lighting felt more like a rave, rather than a laid-back/girl power Sara Bareilles show. With that said, they had one middle-aged woman fearlessly dancing to every song, what a brave soul.
Sara’s (yes, she is so cool that we are on a first name basis) show is geared toward promoting her new album, but is still peppered with her fan-favorite classics. I couldn’t stop myself from belting out every word of “Love Song” when the familiar piano medley filled my ears. Did I mention she plays the piano standing up like a total rock star? You go Glen Coco!
Sara creates the kind of comforting atmosphere that makes you think she’s your BFF up there performing, not a singer/songwriter goddess. She’s constantly cracks witty jokes throughout her set, paired with her beautiful riffs. Did I mention she’s a total fashion icon, rocking the tights, high-waisted shorts, collared blouse and fedora. Sorry Taylor Swift, but you should go back to the sparkly dresses, because Sara definitely wore it best!
The crowd stays mostly seated, except for some girls who weren’t afraid to shake what their mama gave ’em to each song. The atmosphere changes when her anthem, “Brave” or as she describes it “a love letter to anyone whose ever been afraid to be who they are,” (excuse me while I cry) fills the auditorium. We jump to our feet along with the rest of the crowd, and it takes all my concentration to steady my camera in order to document this life-changing experience (no I’m not be dramatic at all).
With tear stained faces, we leave the auditorium after she tugged at our heartstrings with an encore of the song “Gravity.”
The real magic begins when we decide to stand outside in the frigid Athens air along with 50 other Sara fanatics, and a few confused bystanders, in hopes to meet her. Just two grueling hours later our dedication and frostbitten toes have paid off. Sara comes sauntering out looking like a chill college kid in her beanie and nose bling.
This is it. The moment I had been waiting for. Without thinking I bound at her with open arms and embrace her in a sisterly hug. She’s a bit taken back by my forward gesture, but genuinely smiles at my awkwardness. She poses for our picture, and I try my best to contain my joy and look “cool” in the picture (major fail).
The moment ends too soon, and I’m left with my Instagram-worthy pic, and my memories.
Sara never seems to disappoint and honestly, I wish the next performers here at OU luck because she’ll be a tough act to follow.