The Jewel Cases

I’ve actually seen Jewel in concert once before.

I wrote recently about the fact that I’m going to Jewel’s June 13 concert in Huntsville, and that I’ll have backstage access as an official blogger for COUNTRY Financial/Cotton States’ Road Trips and Guitar Picks tour program, which gets fans involved in the concerts — you can become a Roadie to be eligible for prizes, and there’s a sweepstakes to win an all-expense-paid trip to one of the concerts.

This will be my second time to see Jewel in concert. The first was 13 years ago, during the Atlanta stop in the first Lilith Fair tour. (On a related note, not only am I about to see Jewel in concert again, I just bought my tickets today to Lilith Fair.)

The line-up for the 1997 Atlanta Lilith show was rather impressive — starting with then-current one-hit-wonder Abra Moore (“Four-Leaf Clover”), Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, then-hot Fiona Apple, Joan Osborne, Emmylou Harris, Jewel and Sarah McLachlan.

The first three acts were lagniappe, but were fun. Joan Osborne and Emmylou Harris, I wish I were seeing now instead of then. They both put on great shows, but my musical tastes were still far too immature to really appreciate them. At that point, I still knew Joan Osborne solely from the “One Of Us” song, which is probably the least Joan Osborne-y song there is. I’m practically kicking myself over the great songs I must have just sat through waiting for her to play that. Emmylou Harris, I doubt I’d even heard of before Lilith Fair. Ah, the folly of youth.

And then, there was Sarah McLachlan and Jewel.

This being Lilith Fair, Sarah McLachlan was closing act. This being late 1997, Jewel was the superstar. To be honest, me being a huge Sarah McLachlan fan, I was more interested in hearing her, even if Jewel was the bigger name at the time. And, to be sure, Sarah didn’t disappoint. She earned her place in the closing slot. Brilliant show.

But this post is about Jewel, right?

At the time of the concert, Jewel’s first album, “Pieces Of You,” had been out for a couple of years, though “Foolish Games” had peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 not terribly long before, so she was still very much a popular act. (Ah, Wikipedia, provider of great music history information. Did you know that “Pieces of You” was one of the best-selling debut albums ever?)

Point being, though, her debut album had been out long enough that she was already looking ahead to the future, and a decent amount of her concert was new material. Now, keep in mind, this was very early folksy ingenue Jewel, whose then-only album had a song with the lyrics, “So please be careful with me, I’m sensitive / And I’d like to stay that way.” It was her, and she made it work, but it’s hard to think of an artist more precious than Jewel at this point.

But that night, at Lilith Fair, she rocked. She did the “Pieces of You” hits, and they sounded like the “Pieces of You” hits. But she did a lot of songs I didn’t know. And they rocked, awesomely and with a great rocking. At the time, I assumed they were material for her next album, but when Spirit came out, more than a year later, I didn’t recognize any of them. Now, maybe they were on there, and it had been long enough that I didn’t recognize them from the live version I’d heard. Maybe she was doing covers that young, musically immature me didn’t recognize. Maybe they were songs she was working on and decided not to go with. I have no idea. All I know, was for that one night, Jewel put on a show that was great in the ways I’d expected, and great in totally unexpected ways as well.

Now, I’m certainly not going into this upcoming concert with that sort of expectation, but, I will admit, from having seen her before, I am kinda excited about seeing what she’s going to do this time.