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Music & Concerts

Revisiting ‘Relish’

Classic ‘90s Joan Osborne album out in deluxe reissue



Joan Osborne, gay news, Washington Blade
Joan Osborne, gay news, Washington Blade

Joan Osborne says the moody, dreamy world of her classic album ‘Relish’ was intentional. (Photo courtesy CAMI)

Mavis Staples & Joan Osborne


Solid Soul Tour


Saturday, Oct. 31


8 p.m.


Lisner Auditorium


730 21st St., N.W.




Joan Osborne’s landmark 1995 album “Relish” is being reissued on Friday, Oct. 30 in a deluxe 20th anniversary edition in three formats — a single-disc edition with bonus cuts, a 20-track digital bundle with more outtakes and a spate of live B-sides or a double-LP set.

Osborne’s “Solid Soul Tour” with Mavis Staples comes to the Lisner Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 31. We caught up with her by phone from a tour stop at Penn State to reminisce about all things “Relish.”

On what inspired the reissue: “The record still has a lot of fans and it’s nice to just sort of give a nod to the fact that it’s been around so long.”

On first single “St. Teresa”: “I think it was one of those situations where you release a song that you feel is going to get people interested in the record as a whole and then you wait and build a little interest that way, then you bring out the song that you think might be your pop hit, so I think that was everybody’s strategy if I recall.”

On why there were two “St. Teresa” videos: “After ‘One of Us’ was such a big hit, they felt they wanted to re-release ‘St. Teresa’ as a single and I guess they weren’t completely happy with that first video. I was like, ‘Well, I have an idea for it,’ and they allowed me to direct the second video where I was a hotel maid. That was really fun.”

On mega-hit “One of Us”: “I liked the song and I thought it was interesting. I don’t think that I anticipated it becoming the sort of pop hit that it was or that it became or that it would be controversial. … I could see how people might take exception to using the word slob, as in just a slob like one of us, to refer to God because that certainly flies in the face of most cultures’ perceptions of God, but I didn’t think it was particularly sacrilegious. I felt the song was kind of like having a little kid come up to you and tug on your sleeve and ask you a very innocent question but a question you don’t really have the answer for which kind of sets you back and makes you think about things in that way that children can do because they don’t know any better.”

On the “Airplane Ride” sample that opens “One of Us”: “That came from a record I found in a little record store in SoHo. … I was just wandering around in there one day trying to write lyrics and I went down and found this compilation of Appalachian music and it looked interesting to me so I brought it home. Later I brought it into the session and Rick Chertoff, the producer, and Eric Bazillian and Rob Hyman and the guys I was collaborating with, we were all sort of charmed by it, in particular the heavenly airplane bit, we just thought … it would be a fun thing to add to the front of (‘One of Us’). A lot of people thought it was me, but it wasn’t. Her name was Nell Hampton.”

On locating the “Relish” outtakes: “I didn’t have any of it. It was all in some Universal Music Group vault. I think Rob Hyman had a couple of cassette tapes that he dug out of a box at home. I looked for stuff in my archives but I couldn’t really find anything. The only thing that wasn’t from the vault was the cassette of Rob’s original demo of ‘One of Us.’”

On “Century,” a non-album track she used to perform around the time of “Relish”: “That was one we were taking about putting on (the reissue) but … there are always things that make it on to a record and things that are left off and there are reasons for them to be left off and part of the reason is you just don’t want anybody to hear them.”

On making “Relish”: “One of the things about working with Rick Chertoff was that he was one of these guys who said it doesn’t matter how long it takes, it doesn’t matter how much work it is, none of that stuff matters as long as you get it right and you do it from the ground up and take your time.”

On follow-up “Righteous Love” and its delayed release: “‘The life of ‘Relish’ took a long, long time and was … a tough act to follow. I think there were a lot of expectations from the label and myself that I had to turn around right away and come up with something that was really smashing and I think that intimidated me to a certain extent. I did a lot of things and turned them into the record company and they rejected them, so there was that aspect as well. It was not a particularly fun part of my life.”

On touring with Mavis Staples: “Being on stage with her each night is a total inspiration. She’s just got that thing where she can reach people. She’s so full of joy and also really funny and really smart. It’s just going really great.”


Music & Concerts

The Atlantis to showcase musical legends of tomorrow

New venue, a near replica of original 9:30 Club, opens next month



A look at the interior of the original 9:30 club. (Photo public domain/Library of Congress)

A new nirvana for music fans opens next month adjacent to the 9:30 Club. Dubbed The Atlantis, this intimate venue embraces a 450-person capacity – and pays homage as a near-replica of the original 9:30 Club.

The $10 million venue comes courtesy of I.M.P., the independent promoter that owns and operates the 9:30 Club and The Anthem, and operates The Lincoln Theatre and Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The Foo Fighters will inaugurate The Atlantis on May 30, which is also the 9:30 Club’s anniversary. Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl, during a concert in 2021, kicked off speculation that I.M.P was planning to open a new venue, noting that, “We’ll probably be the band that opens that place, too, right?”

Other big names on the inaugural 44-show run roster: Franz Ferdinand, Barenaked Ladies, Third Eye Blind, Spoon, and Billy Idol.

To thwart scalpers, The Atlantis utilized a request system for the first 44 shows when they went on sale two weeks ago. Within four days of the announcement, fans had requested more than 520,000 tickets, many times more than the total 19,800 available. All tickets have been allocated; fans who were unable to snag tickets can attempt to do so in May, when a fan-to-fan ticket exchange opens.

While I.M.P. oversees multiple larger venues, “We’ve been doing our smallest shows in other peoples’ venues for too many years now,” said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P. “We needed a place that’s ours. This can be the most exciting step in an artist’s career.”

The 9:30 Club holds 1,200 people, while The Anthem has space for up to 6,000.

“This will be where we help introduce new artists to the world… our smallest venue will be treated as important, if not more, than our bigger venues. If the stories are told right, both the artists and the fans begin their hopefully longterm relationship. Its stage will support bourgeoning artists and the legends of tomorrow,” Hurwitz said. Hurwitz and the team developed a tagline for the new venue: The Atlantis, Where Music Begins.

Hurwitz got his start at the original 9:30 Club, originally located at 930 F St., N.W. He was an independent booker of the club for the first six years and then he bought it, and managed the move from its original location to its current location in 1996. The venue first opened in 1980.

Audrey Fix Schaefer, I.M.P. communications director, provides further insight. “We were missing small venues in our umbrella. Big acts don’t start in stadiums. We need a place for emerging artists and for the community to discover new acts. The Atlantis can help new artists grow.”

While design elements are still coming into focus, Schaefer says that the space will be intimate, with almost no separation between the artist and the crowd. “There will be energy on both sides of the stage,” she says.

Although The Atlantis is set to be a replica of the original 9:30, I.M.P. has spared no expense. Schaefer notes that the sound and light systems use the latest available technologies, similar to next door at the current 9:30 Club.

The Atlantis takes over the footprint of now-closed Satellite Room. The venue will have at least two bars flanking the stage; cocktails but no food will be available.

Schaefer notes that since its early days, 9:30 Club and I.M.P. “has always been a place where people are welcome. People come and feel safe with us.” 9:30 Club has hosted several LGBTQ Pride parties, the BENT dance party series, and other events for LGBTQ patrons. Particular acts of note during the kickoff run include Tegan & Sarah and Tove Lo.

The Washington Blade was a neighbor to the 9:30 Club at its original F Street location back in the 1980s. Despite their proximity, noise wasn’t an issue for on deadline nights, when Blade staff worked late hours.

“We would of course work later hours back then,” said Phil Rockstroh, a longtime Blade staffer, in a 2016 Blade interview. “Everything was typeset and done by hand without computers and fax machines so getting through deadlines was much more time consuming.”

Rockstroh said the noise wasn’t a distraction.

“It wasn’t too bad as older buildings were constructed more solidly,” Rockstroh said. “There was only one entrance to the building and you entered so far to the elevator that went up to the other floors and then continued down the hall to the entrance to the 9:30 Club. Frequently at night if I was coming or going, there were people spilling out the doors.”

“The Blade has always had a friendly relationship with the 9:30 Club,” he added.

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Music & Concerts

National Philharmonic to perform classical, contemporary works

Violinist Melissa White returns



The National Philharmonic will host “Beethoven’s 7th” on Saturday, April 15 at 8 p.m. at Strathmore.

Past and present will collide in this performance of contemporary works and classical masterpieces. Maestro Piotr Gajewski will direct Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja, Anthem for Unity for Orchestra” Violinist Melissa White will also return to the Philharmonic to perform Florence Price’s sweeping, melodic “Violin Concerto No. 2.”

Tickets start at $19 and can be purchased on the Philharmonic’s website.

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Music & Concerts

Bruce & Janet & John Legend, oh my!

Slew of iconic acts hitting the road after pandemic cancellations



Janet Jackson is among the iconic acts touring this spring.

Pop and rock icons are releasing their pent-up pandemic frustrations by mounting huge tours this spring and summer. After three years of canceled and postponed shows, everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Janet Jackson is hitting the road at long last. But save your coins because the TicketMaster algorithms are driving ticket prices to astronomical highs. Here are a few highlights from D.C.-area venues this spring. Although some of the iconic acts aren’t coming until summer — Beyonce, Madonna, Pink — several others are hitting the road this spring.

Betty Who plays March 10; Keyshia Cole headlines the All Black Extravaganza 20 Year Anniversary tour on March 18; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs come to town on May 3; Seal brings his world tour to town on May 10; and the beloved Pixies are back on the road with a new North American tour stopping here on June 10.

9:30 CLUB
Don’t miss Gimme Gimme Disco, an Abba dance party on March 18; Inzo arrives on March 31, followed by Bent on April 1; Ruston Kelly brings his The Weakness tour on April 17 along with Purr; The New Pornographers show on May 19 is sold out but there are tickets available for the May 20 show; The Walkmen have added a fourth show on May 23 because the other three shows are sold our;

Living legend Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are back with a vengeance, playing one of four area shows on March 27. (They’re in Baltimore the night before.) If you missed out this time, don’t worry, Bruce is playing Nats Park in September as well as at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. April 1 brings the R&B Music Experience, including Xscape, Monica, Tamar Braxton, and 112. Blink-182 comes to town on May 23. And this summer watch for Sam Smith to continue his hot streak, bringing his “Gloria” tour to town on Aug.4.

Janet Jackson makes her highly anticipated return to the stage this spring, arriving in our area on May 6 along with guest Ludacris. The LGBTQ ally and icon has promised new music on her upcoming “Together Again Tour,” which follows the pandemic-related cancellation of her “Black Diamond Tour.” Jackson also plays Baltimore’s newly renovated CFG Bank Arena on May 13.

John Legend plays two nights at Wolf Trap on June 2 and 3; Charlie Puth follows on June 4. Wolf Trap also hosts the Indigo Girls on June 7 just in time for Pride month. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Smithereens at the Birchmere on March 17. Fans of ‘80s alternative will be lined up for the Church also at the Birchmere at April 4, followed by Suzanne Vega on April 26. Amy Grant returns to the stage this spring and plays the Birchmere on May 2. Echostage plays host to a slew of buzz worthy shows this spring, including Ella Mai on April 8 and Fisher on May 12.

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