When Alanis Morissette’s breakthrough debut, “Jagged Little Pill,” was released in 1995, no one could have predicted that she’d become the go-to girl for teen angst. But 10 years and a mega-platinum, Grammy-soaked career later, Morissette has revisited that album, re-recording it track-for-track with mellower, acoustic-based arrangements and touring behind those songs again. Onstage, she claimed this tour has been her favorite and said she’s proud that the songs have meant so many things to so many people. It was obvious from the love the audience gave her (and the songs’ continued relevance) that she wasn’t just spewing hyperbole.
Though the set was almost a career retrospective, the “Jagged Little Pill”-era songs like “Hand in My Pocket” and “Mary Jane” were completely rejiggered, the first one bouncing on a bass groove and the latter finding a bit of jazz in its restrained spill. Morissette’s voice, always unique but never particularly impressive, has never sounded better; she explored her range through the night in ways that would have impressed Simon Cowell.
The rage that defined Morissette a decade ago is all but gone; like her audience, she’s grown up and become an adult. By redefining her breakthrough record, she’s acknowledging what she once was and embracing what she’s become, something that the women sitting comfortably with their husbands — and screaming along to the breakup rant “You Oughta Know” — can definitely understand.
Opener Jason Mraz (backed simply by a percussionist and another acoustic guitarist) won over the audience not just with the pleasant, James Taylor-meets-Dave-Matthews songs from his forthcoming Atlantic record “Mr. A-Z,” but a stage persona that’s half coffee-shop troubadour and half Borscht Belt standup comic. Even his breakthrough song “The Remedy” was helped by his aw-shucks demeanor, as he held a mic up to the audience to sing the chorus — and then appeared shocked that they knew the words.