Melissa Etheridge Rocks the Night Away at the Cascade Theatr

Melissa Etheridge Rocks the Night Away at the Cascade Theatre


Melissa Etheridge went straight to the vault to kick off her solo show at the Cascade Theatre Tuesday night, emerging on stage without an introduction and grinding out the chords to “Bring Me Some Water” on a 12-string acoustic guitar.The hit from her 1988 debut album sounded as fresh as ever and so did the 53-year-old rocker’s voice, which filled the Art Deco theater to the brim and induced the first of many whistles and shouts of encouragement from the predominantly female audience.



One look at the stage, with its array of 10 guitars, a 12-string electric mandolin and a grand piano, and it was clear Etheridge meant business. She relied on some technology to create an even bigger sound, using a computerized looping system to add a percussion backdrop to several of her songs.


She picked out a 12-string electric Fender for “Chrome Plated Heart,” also from her self-titled debut, and then offered up “California” in honor of her “This is M.E.” tour being on a swing through the Golden State.Reports of the devastating Boles fire in Weed on Monday “was the saddest news I heard all day,” Etheridge said, before cracking a smile at the mention of Weed burning. “Couldn’t I at least watch?” she said with a laugh. “Sorry. I’m making Northern California jokes.”


An activist who credits marijuana use with helping her overcome breast cancer, Etheridge has long advocated for legal pot in addition to marriage equality, environmental causes and human rights issues.Tuesday night belonged to music more than politics, and Etheridge emphasized that by strapping on a double-neck guitar and clicking a harmonica into a brace for the bluesy “Don’t You Need.” Technology, which she acknowledged “isn’t going away,” came into play again as she committed a section of rhythm guitar on the 2-string to a loop and switched to the lower six-string guitar to play a lead.