TX:Promoted by Goldenvoice and Jennifer Perry. Reviewed June 6, 1996. Known mostly for a pretty song envisioning God on acity bus, Joan Osborne demonstrated at the sold-out Wiltern a vibrant depth and endearing form that far surpassed that or any other song on her double-platinum debut album, “Relish” (Blue Gorilla/Mercury). Deftly swirling a buoyant sensuality and a questioning spiritual vibe, Osborne, 33, sang about love and family and heartache and mysterious men — all with a constant smile on her cherubic face and a soulful gospel-on-the-back-porch power that indicates far more depth than her hit “One of Us.” It’s an atypical tune, as it turns out, that she and her band performed late in the 100-minute show with little enthusiasm.
Osborne and her band (anchored by the dynamic drum work of former Cruzados member Johnny Quintana) performed spirited songs like the dirty slide guitar-laced “Spider Web” and captivating, harmonica-driven “Dracula Moon” as affectionately as if in front of the townsfolk of her native Anchorage, Ky.
Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me” was notable for Eric Penna’s harmonica soloing on his knees in front of Osborne, while the reggae-gospel “Pensacola,” the show’s opener, reinforced her disparate influences.
Osborne is a charming figure onstage. She sang as if still thrilled by her musical gift, yet with an edge and depth of soul that hinted her full potential is far from realized.