Review - Ani DiFranco @ the Rio Theater (6/30/18)

Kate Haley
Ani DiFranco (Photo: Kate Haley)
Ani DiFranco (Photo: Kate Haley)
Ani DiFranco at “Her Place”, the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz, CA on June 30th, 2018.

It was 7PM on Saturday night. We made a quick pit stop in a little bar and asked how to get to The Rio in Santa Cruz. “Oh, who is playing?” asked two older gentlemen, to which I replied “Ani DiFranco.” “Oh of course she is. The Rio, that’s Ani’s place”, they said.

And so it was. A concert hasn’t felt more like your living room filled with only your favorite family members than this. After a few compelling videos encouraging the audience to get active on behalf of the Grand Canyon and Van Jones’ Love Army project, Ani took to the stage with "Shy", "Names Dates and Times", and "Two Little Girls".
Ani DiFranco (Photo: Kate Haley)
Ani DiFranco (Photo: Kate Haley)
Stopping to talk for a bit, she mentioned that she was moved by the days’ rallies for Families Belong Together which she encountered driving through San Francisco. “Did you have a rally here in Santa Cruz today?” Most of the audience raised their hands and Ani said "That makes me happy."

She belted out her next three songs: "As Is", "Still My Heart", and "Swan Dive". It's easy to get immersed in Ani’s 'Rise Up' rallying cry and totally miss the fact that this musician is a genius on the guitar. The act of combining guitar licks with lyrics that nourish your bones is a rare feat.
Ani DiFranco (Photo: Kate Haley)
Ani DiFranco (Photo: Kate Haley)
Her seventh song brought the entire crowd to a standstill. She performed a Woodie Guthrie cover called "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" and the power of music as not just a form of entertainment, but also a soul-inspiring wake-up call, could not have been more evident.
Terence Higgins, Ani DiFranco, Todd Sickafoose (L-R) (Photo: Kate Haley)
Ani’s funniest comment of the night came after someone from the audience yelled "Ani for president." She laughed and mused “Well, I guess it is true, anyone can indeed be president these days.”

Towards the end of her set, she invited Jenny Scheinman from Parlour Game back on stage to sing backup vocals and play violin.

As her set wound down it was clear, Ani’s latest album, Binary (iTunes), has its finger on the pulse of social justice, and women’s/human rights that are in jeopardy in more acute ways than ever before. This album and her 'Rise Up' tour are fixing to be the anthem music of our time.
Ani DiFranco (Photo: Kate Haley)
Be sure to check out her tour dates for upcoming shows in your area and be sure to follow us across social for more reviews, interviews, and shows you won't want to miss! Find us on: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.

Words by Traci Ruble; Photos by Kate Haley
Ani DiFranco Setlist The Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz, CA, USA 2018, Rise Up

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