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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Carpenter takes it easy, maybe too easy?

Sun Theatre, Anaheim, Cal., June 21, 2000

By Dan MacIntosh

ANAHEIM, CA This stop on Mary Chapin Carpenter's brief 12-date tour revealed a performer who was obviously relaxed about not having to endure another long drawn-out world trek. Perhaps a little too relaxed.

When she got to "I Take My Chances," Carpenter forgot her own words for the second time this night. Bassist John Jennings speculated that these mental lapses might be due to a brain cavity, caused by Carpenter's admitted enjoyment of Backstreet Boys videos. Or it could have just been a slight case of being a little rusty. Whatever the reason, though, Carpenter appeared to be taking it easy this time out.

But despite her occasional missteps, Carpenter was still able to throw a few new wrinkles into her set, framed within an acoustic unplugged setting for this small theatre date. These included four newly recorded songs.

"Swept Away" told of running into an old love at an airport and not being swept away once again by long-forgotten romantic feelings. "The Loving Thing" (a song Carpenter believes would be perfect for the aforementioned Backstreet Boys) is brain candy at its best.

Still, she saved her best new composition for (second to) last, closing the set with a commentary on our oftentimes harried modern times called "The Gettin' There." Instead of letting regimented lifestyles steal our joy of living away, Carpenter suggests "accidents and inspiration" are the unexpected pleasures that lead us to our respective destinations. Like the best of Carpenter's work, it gets straight to the heart of the matter.

Carpenter turned to another new winner for her last encore. Probably titled something like "If I Were A Diva," it's a song where the slightly overweight singer/songwriter puts herself into some of the skintight outfits of today's most popular divas from Mariah to Shania. Done as a mock show tune, Carpenter uses the song as a vehicle to take all the air out of these over inflated balloons, and it left the crowd in stitches.

Catie Curtis opened the show with her own intelligent and personal folk songs. Philosophical musings like "Wise To The Ways Of The World" and family remembrances like "Dad's Yard" make Curtis a name to watch.