Ani DiFranco at the Crystal Ballroom (6/30/22)
Written by Dylan Davies on September 24, 2022
Towards the start of summer, I saw online that 90s’ folk icon Ani DiFranco would be visiting Portland. Now this was coming to me just at the start of a new job that I was finding to be quite stressful and very overwhelming, therefore engaging in any activity other than sleeping was not exactly on my agenda. However, on the Friday that was to be the day of the concert, I realized my exhaustion was clouding my otherwise good judgment and that I had to go to this concert. This was the final day of pride month and my tiredness had not allowed me to do any pride activities, which I found to be immensely disappointing. Therefore, I would buy the tickets to this concert which would surely be packed to the brim with queer people and queer energy!
DiFranco is known for her frank and honest lyrics depicting queer relationships and feelings. A lot of these lyrics are bold and courageous for today, let alone the early 90s. Therefore, it was no surprise to me and my friend to find we were one of the few men in attendance that night. At least we were gay men so we weren’t completely ruining the mood and amience. The energy was palpable as we waited in attendance. It made me realize how little I was doing to be a member of my community and how much more time I should be spending in rooms full of lesbians. What a fantastic and electric environment it was! We found a place to stand in the middle of the room, making sure to let people more deserving stand in front of us. The room was filled with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere as the audience talked to each other like old friends. A complete stranger started fanning us with her homemade fan, to which we were extremely thankful. Then, completely welcome but totally unprompted, she told us of her secret plan to propose to her girlfriend if Ani performed the song she had emailed her asking her to do so (unfortunately she didn’t).
Ani DiFranco’s acoustic set rocked the house. She performed protest songs about Roe V. Wade. She called for unity and togetherness. She performed my favorite song of hers’, “Fuel”, even though it hadn’t been on any of the posted setlists from the last few concerts. (I love it when that happens). Opener Abraham Alexander also was really cool and performed a nice, gentle and thoughtfully mellow set, including a fantastic cover of Wicked Game. I can see good things happening for him with a little luck.
Overall Ani DiFranco provided a fantastic concert and a great pride experience!!!