Milwaukee Fell in Love with Ingrid Michaelson at The Pabst

The stage had huge panels with lyrics written all over it. They were filled with words scratched out and scribbled like it was a journal. Her name was written on the top of the panels. The instruments were all set. It was now just a waiting game for the audience. They sipped their wine and drank their beers, hoping soon enough Ingrid Michaelson would take the Pabst Theater stage.

Before she came on, the audience sat and watched her opener, AJR. This group is comprised of three brothers, all former street performers. The audience was impressed to hear their brand of DIY pop music. This was nothing the audience has really heard before.

Lead singer Jack Met crazily danced around the stage, looking like he was a stumbling drunk. Their set was equipped with a button filled pad that made electronic sounds and beats to add to their songs, which confused some in the audience.

AJR’s sound really didn’t fit the vibes of Ingrid Michaelson, but after awhile people started to buy into it. The group included a cover of the Weeknd’s “The Hills,” a sample Spongebob Squarepants’ famous “I’m Ready” in their song of the same name, and a new song, “I’m not Famous.” This started to get the crowd a little more excited, but you could tell they were just ready for Ingrid Michaelson.

Soon enough, the stage lights dimmed, music started up and finally Michaelson appeared on stage with her band. As soon as she came out, everyone perked up and had immediate excitement. With a bright blue romper, and her signature glasses on, she stood in front of the microphone and all we saw was her silhouette. Then she  just belted out, “Light Me Up.”

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Photos Courtesy of Kellen Nordstrom / Pabst Theater Group

When she hit the first high note, the audience roared in applause. No one had any idea her pipes were as amazing as they were. The recordings you listen to on Spotify, on the radio or on a CD just doesn’t do her voice justice. As she performed, her talent radiated. She impressed me so much, and this was only her first song.

Her voice continued to shine throughout, but truly sounded best when it was just her and her ukulele for “The Way I Am”, or her piano for “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” an Elvis Presley cover. She made these songs sound so stripped down, and it was beautiful. Michaelson gave the audience chills. It made the performance feel much more intimate.

As the show continued on, she started talking to the audience, and immediately everyone started falling in love with her. She was so quirky and cute, people couldn’t help but smile and laugh. She went on rants about hamsters on hamster wheels, told the story of her first kiss with Jimmy Clark, and her later interactions with him to introduce her song, “Celebrate.”  She even gave us a chance to snap photos of her during a photo-op as her and her band mates dressed up in boas, masks and other costume items, so that no embarrassing pictures would be posted of her singing. It was honestly a great way to see her personality shine. She was being herself, and it made the audience feel like they knew who she was now; and EVERYONE loved her.

She told the audience that it was okay that we sat down, but we had to have the “spirit of a standing person,” and the crowd did that statement justice. The audience in their seats clapped along, sang the lyrics out loud with her, and tapped their foot to the beat.

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During “You and I,” she had the audience even help create the beat by having us, “Stomp, Stomp, clap.” She would step away from the microphone and let the Pabst Theater sing out loud, creating a powerful moment for us all. It was nice to all be in unison singing and feeling connected to Ingrid and to the other audience members.

It’s hard to pick a highlight moment of the show, because it was all just so good. As I sat through the show, I would catch my moment and say, “this is my favorite part”, and then 5 seconds later, say the same thing. This happened repeatedly throughout the night.

She closed the show with “Hell No,” which brought the audience to their feet, dancing around in the seats. Her and her band then thanked the crowd and headed off stage.

The crowd strongly applauded for minutes, trying to get her back on stage. Once she finally did, the crowd shrieked in pure happiness. She started her encore with “Girls Chase Boys,” getting the crowd pumped. Then, she went completely left field, with a cover of Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.”

Her bandmates took turns singing the different lines and then joined her up front for their own choreographed dance routine, complete with matching leather jackets with “Ingrid” spelled in rhinestones on the back. IT WAS AMAZING. People were smiling and laughing so much. They just couldn’t handle the greatness.

Basically, I could go on and on forever to tell you how great this show was, but you just have to see it for yourself and thank me later. She made every person in the audience leave happier that night and excited to see her again soon. Not many artists can do that. Cheers to you, Ingrid, and see you again soon.

SET LIST:

“Light Me Up”

“Time Machine”

“Maybe”

“Parachute” (Cheryl Cole Cover)

“Another Life”

“Corner of Your Heart/How We Love”

“I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” (Elvis Presley Cover)

“The Way I Am”

“Be OK”

“Lotto” (Featuring AJR)

“You and I”

“Warpath”

“Afterlife”

“Turn to Stone”

“Still the One”

“Celebrate”

“Hell No”

ENCORE:

“Girls Chase Boys”

“I’m Too Sexy” (Right Said Fred Cover)

 

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