After taking the stage to pulsating lights and a simulated thumping heartbeat, DiFranco surveyed the crowd in the darkness with her hands on her hips and began writhing and spitting out lyrics with unorthodox inflection. Unnoticed in the background, her bandmates quietly took their places and then were revealed in spectacular fashion as the stage filled with light and DiFranco declared, "Welcome to the Freakshow." Once she strapped on one of her infinite supply of guitars (she changed axes after almost every song), she turned her back to the crowd during the explosive chorus, stomping her feet tantrum-style as she strummed with a punching motion. After the triumphant response to this opening salvo, DiFranco went on to compliment the venue ("This place is so stylin'!") before bemoaning the fact that the city bombarded them with barbecue establishments ("We're in a meat coma, and we don't even eat meat").
After engaging in a funky number, DiFranco acknowledged one of the many fans to blurt out random bits of information about themselves by saying, "Happy Birthday! I'm going to play you a morbid little song." With that, the spotlight savored the singer as she belted out "Providence," a standout tune from her latest album, To The Teeth. This, like many of the evening's selections, started out Ani-only and ended with the band jumping in with much lighting-provided fanfare. Later, DiFranco unveiled a new tune, which inspired an avalanche of applause from the crowd with its opening line (White people are so afraid of black people).
When performing her funkier material, DiFranco occasionally suffered from the use of the full-band format, as the influence of a stand-up bass, a drummer, and two horns on her already inherently rhythmic compositions contributed to percussion overload. However, the band's presence was welcome during the show-stopping rendition of "Dilate," which fulfilled the song's unexplored possibilities. When performing within her element, with stripped-down masterpieces such as "To The Teeth" and the a cappella encore selection, "Both Hands," DiFranco justified her fans' love. Her duet with keyboardist/accordion player Julie Wolf during "Angry Anymore" was equally impressive, as the two harmonized perfectly, although their slapstick comedy act that preceded the song left much to be desired.
DiFranco later engaged in some unintentional physical comedy as she tumbled from an amp while watching drummer Daren Hahn's solo, although she redeemed herself by indulging in some funky dance moves and making a grand gesture of removing her pigtails. Finally, after roaring through an angst-filled setlist ("Who wrote this setlist?" she asked her band at point. "It's full of songs that go arrrgh!"), DiFranco closed her nearly two-hour set with "Overlap," leaving her swooning admirers thoroughly satisfied.
Also winning approval was opener Jim White, whose folk/country tunes might have inspired the master of comparisons who summarized Ani's sound so perfectly to compare him to Tom Waits and Neil Young. After getting some easy cheers by milking the bursting udders of the insanely eager crowd ("Are you guys ready?") he launched into five dark, lengthy compositions that showcased his acoustic guitar chops. After several morose tunes that could be classified as "folk noir," White closed his set with a crowd-pleasing country romp that featured the chorus God was drunk when he made me/but I forgive him.