First night: Emotional stomp from a brattish princess

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The Independent Online
Alanis Morissette

Telewest Arena

Newcastle

ALANIS MORISSETTE has never exactly been the British music critics' artist of choice. The combination of sanitised grunge rock and her studied psycho-drama lyrics attracts little more than disdain from the press.

Despite - and possibly as a result of - the media's response, sells enough records to wipe out a sizeable chunk of the Third World debt. The appeal, it would seem, is exactly what the press so mistrust in her (and, somewhat ironically, love in the Manic Street Preachers) - that continuous need to wash her dirty psyche in public.

Morissette touches those self-obsessed, surface-deep emotions that tangle minds with apparent ease.

Her ability to take everyday experiences and apply daytime TV pop- psychology is not unusual. But as last night'sopening date on her UK tour occasionally showed, she does have a rare ability to transform such observations into addictive and insistent pop songs.

True, there's nothing clever about the music she makes. It comes from a long tradition of Rolling Stones and Sheryl Crow - and just like the emotions Morissette luxuriates in, her songs are immediately, naggingly familiar.

In the fullness of last night's show, however, Morissette's pop-rock touch was all too often lost amid a display of bombastic Led Zeppelin dynamics. On a stage decked out in tie-dyed Indian feather prints Morissette stomped like a deranged, brattish princess at an Indie club.

Yet there is no denying that she has a charismatic presence, which helps the songs to emerge from the quagmire of rock noise - a point made painfully clear when she takes up the harmonica and breaks into a slowed-down and spacious version of "Hand in My Pocket".

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