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barrymore theatre, madison, WI

Beth Orton

Release Date: 11.17.02
Record label: Beth Orton - special acoustic performance
Genre(s): Country Western

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Orton: Stripped
by: bill aicher

In today's array of singer-songwriters, Beth Orton has placed herself prominently near the top. After several spectacular albums, including Central Reservation and this year's Daybreaker, the British 32-year-old has quickly become recognized for her superb songwriting and singing talent, garnering guest spots from artists including Ryan Adams and the legendary Emmylou Harris.

For the latter part of 2002, Orton embarked on a special North American tour consisting of a handful of acoustic shows. Featuring Orton on guitars and vocals, cello by Ollie Krause, Ali Friend on upright bass, and Ted Barnes on guitar, the tour's shows embraced a slimmed-down, intimate feel.

On Sunday night of November 17th, it was made clear to a full-house of Madison concert-goers just how well Orton's songs translate to sparse arrangements. Rifling through a large selection of songs from past and present, as well as quirky between-song banter, Orton's set came off superbly. With the entire set lasting for nearly two hours, her emotional renditions of songs inluding "Carmela" (from Daybreaker), "Blood Red River (from Central Reservation) and the audience-requested "Sugar Boy" (from her debut Trailer Park), Orton made it overtly clear the show would go on for as long as the audience would have her.

"You'll have to tell us when we start milking it, or we'll play all night," Orton quipped during the band's second encore.

And the foursome continued to play on through the night, including a beautiful solo rendition of "It's Not the Spotlight" (featured on the Stir of Echoes soundtrack). It was as excellent a show as anyone in the crowd could have hoped for, and Orton's friendly demeanour spread throughout the audience, who rose to give her a roaring standing ovation at night's end. 01-Dec-2002 5:00 PM