“Super happy:” Brandi Carlile brings live music back to Missoula



Brandi Carlile kicks off the 2021 concert season at the Kettlehouse Amphitheater and celebrates the return of live music to Missoula. (William Munoz / Courant Missoula)

The first in a three-night series, Brandi Carlile performed at KettleHouse Amphitheater this weekend, marking the first gig of the 2021 season for Log Jam Presents.

Originally scheduled to occur in May 2020, the show was postponed until the weekend of July 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which interrupted live performances. The opening of the KettleHouse Amphitheater has long been anticipated by staff, concert goers and performers.

Audrianna French has been responsible for the security of KettleHouse since it opened in 2017. After losing the 2020 season, French was eager to resume concerts. What French lacked most, however, was wasting a summer watching regulars in the amphitheater come out to watch shows with his colleagues.

“All of our staff are very happy to be back. A large part of our team has come back for so many years and has come together again to be a big family, ”said French. “When the pandemic hit, no one could see each other. Now we are all back and are super happy.

It was also a moving return to live music for the performers. Opener Katie Pruitt reflected on her return to the stage following the release of her debut album, Expectations, Last year.

A full house benefits from the return of live music in the concert halls of Missoula. (William Munoz / Courant Missoula)

“It was really moving. My band and I continued to have those moments together on stage where I looked around and saw that everyone was just happy to be there, ”said Pruitt.

Carlile, one of Pruitt’s idols, played an important role in portraying LGTBQ + artists and musicians. On stage, Pruitt recognized the impact that other LGTBQ + artists, such as Carlile and the Indigo Sisters, have had in paving the way for other musicians.

“The representation is powerful,” said Pruitt. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here.

When Carlile appeared on stage wearing an all-white tracksuit, she also recognized the emotions of returning to the stage. She explained that she and herself were still nervous about playing after not being in front of a live crowd for over a year, but the nerves were fading, the emotions running high.

“We’re home,” Carlile told the nearly packed crowd at KettleHouse before performing her single “Story.”

One of Carlile’s strengths throughout the show was creating an emotional connection between the local audience and herself. Carlile had spent the night camping in the area the night before and expressed her admiration for Missoula and the beauty of Montana as a whole, while reflecting on her first performance in the area at Wilma years ago.

Katie Pruitt opens at the KettleHouse for Brandi Carlile. (Willian Munoz / Courant Missoula)

Highlights of the performance included covers of Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You” from the album Blue, which Carlile celebrated with Mitchell on her 50th birthday at an online listening party a week before.

Carlile called on the Small Town String group consisting of niece Caroline Carlile on banjo, nephew Jay J Carlile on violin, as well as Hannah Jackson on guitar and Aurora Wentz on bass to perform a cover of “Wagon Wheel”.

Overall, Carlile’s energy could be felt through the audience throughout the encore and was a great start to the 2021 live concert season. Carlile will be performing for two more nights until July 4 at the ‘KettleHouse Amphitheater.



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