As her fans know by now, it's never easy to predict what Ani DiFranco will do at any given show. She's capable of radiating great joy, generating resounding fury, and touching the raw emotional nerves that reside beneath the surface of her listeners -- whether they know it or not. At this show, recorded at the legendary New York venue at a point when visions of 9/11 were still fresh, DiFranco called upon all the aforementioned facets to cast a hush over a packed house that was hanging on her every word. That's particularly evident in the spoken-word pieces that pepper the set, particularly a version of "Self-Evident" -- which DiFranco herself has described as "one of the most intense moments I have experienced on stage" -- that can still raise goose bumps, even four years after it was committed to tape. While DiFranco hasn't been shy about releasing live albums -- this is her third -- the Carnegie Hall set is by far the most intimate, and not just because the show was a solo acoustic performance. The degree to which she and her audience are on the same page is palpable in both DiFranco's riveting statements of purpose (like the defiant-yet-warm "Angry Anymore") and her more downbeat introspections (like the raw version of "Educated Guess" presented here). But even in the worst of times -- and this show comes from one of those -- DiFranco exudes enough compassion and affability to make her listeners feel like they're in the presence of an old friend.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a die-hard Ani fan, and owning all of these bootlegs, I have to say that they are two things: monumental and repetitive. Unfortunately, there are too much talking in many of them (which is grand at the concert but something I think could have been edited out), and she seems to play some tracks, like "Educated Guess" over and over again. ("Gravel" and "Phase" are no exception.) Whereas there are some faults in the setlist and noise in general, there are more excellent moments on these records than bad. "In the Way" and "Out of Range" in particular. But, if I were you, I'd go with Rome or Sacremento. Carnegie Hall wasn't what I expected it to be.