Dancing in a Hurricane: Brandi Carlile’s Acoustic Set at Shelburne Museum

Rising to increased popularity with her recent Grammy win, Brandi Carlile has been selling out shows up and down the east coast this spring.  Saturday’s show at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont was no exception.  Hundreds of fans filled the open-air amphitheater, ignoring the forecasted weather warnings of lightning storms and surrounding the stage as the technicians brushed sheets of water off the rubber stage.

Photo by Jim Gilbert

Brandi and the twins would inevitably have to cancel this concert after performing a mere three acoustic songs due to safety concerns. But frankly, their performance, while uplifting and inspiring as always, was only half of this concert experience.  The mood of the fans, drenched in rain and mud, huddled in the cold for hours, was brighter than any sunshine hiding behind the clouds. Strangers at 6 pm when the gates opened, the fans quickly bonded, sharing ponchos with strangers, supporting children so they had space to dance, and even covering our concert photographer with an umbrella to protect his gear.

Brandy Clark, the sultry country opener who crooned about divorce, breaking stereotypes of “good girls,” and even smoking weed, was a well thought out choice for the Brandi Carlile fans. Ms. Clark’s real-speak poetry and sexy voice quieted the shivering fans, her music temporarily distracting them from their discomfort. She appeared completely unmoved by the rains that came in sideways toward her while singing. Her voice was a balance between graceful beauty and gritty truths, leading this writer to check her out immediately after on Spotify to hear more.

Between sets, fans began to worry about the weather. It appeared to be worsening, and while the concert was advertised “rain or shine,” there was awareness that the electrical equipment on stage was drenched by the soaking deluge.

Photo by Jim Gilbert

But Brandi and the twins didn’t disappoint. They took the stage with acoustic guitars and stomped wooden boxes for percussion, as plastic covering protected the drums. Starting with “Follow,” Brandi thanked the fans for staying in the pouring cold rain. She remarked, “This is simply amazing to see everyone here.”

And everyone did seem to be there. The fans were overflowing the venue, filling every open grassy area (and the muddy ones too). The trio shifted the song list to accommodate their acoustic sound, bringing great joy to fans who are familiar with older Brandi Carlile albums.

But sadly after the third song, Brandi announced lightening strikes were too close, and the concert would have to be cancelled. The stage was quickly cleared, and fans ran out through hurricane like rains and winds to safely evacuate the space.

Photo by Jim Gilbert

Shorter than expected, but as authentically Brandi Carlile an experience as one might hope for, Shelburne Museum offered a perfect setting for kindness, music, poetry, and even some dancing in a hurricane. Brandi Carlile concerts – even when cut short – are worth braving any storm.

Note: Higher Ground Music announced that ticket holders will receive refunds. Tickets purchased online through Ticketfly will be refunded automatically; otherwise, fans need to visit their point of purchase for the refund.

Photo by Jim Gilbert

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