Mariah Carey wants to connect with fans
This downsized tour, which will include her hits as well as new songs from the recently released CD "Charmbracelet", will hit the Bay Area on Wednesday for a date at the Chronicle Pavilion. The diva behind such No.1 smashes as "Fantasy", "Hero", "Dream Lover" and a dozen others says that the idea for mounting a smaller tour came after meeting a fan at an amusement park. The devotee had seen the singer in concert before - and loved it - but thought the experience lacked a sense of intimacy.
"At those big venues they put all the corporate people in front and you don't really get to connect with the fans. And that's what I'm all about," Carey says during a phone interview from her apartment in the New York neighborhood of TriBeCa.
The Chronicle Pavilion isn't usually considered "intimate", but organizers have made special arrangements to transform the amphitheater to better suit Carey's show. Only 8,000 tickets will be made available to the public - thousands fewer than normal.
While the tour is intimate compared to past performances, it's still not as intimate as the singer originally intended. "I actually wanted to do, like, a nightclub tour, which I thought would have been pretty cool," she explains. In all, the concert should be somewhat of a hybrid - something between the arena-worthy spectaculars of Carey's past and the unfulfilled dream of a nightclub tour. That mix should perfectly suit Carey, a versatile performer equally adept at handling love ballads and dance numbers.
"It's much less a (big) pop production than it is more of a theatrical kind of cabaret-meets-unplugged vibe," Carey says of the concert. "It's almost more about having a show with personality. Because it's a smaller venue, you will be able to catch the nuances of what is happening on the stage."
Taking the fan-friendly approach a step further, Carey will let fans have a say on the songs she performs. The Mariah faithful have been casting votes for their all-time favorite tunes on the singer's Web site - mariahcareyfanclub.com. "What are they sick of? What do they want to hear? What do they want to hear from the new album? The older stuff?"
Carey says of the questions that the interactive set list has helped clear up. "It kind of surprised me. First, Through the Rain was the No.1 song. And they can pick from any album, any year, whatever. "And then just recently, Hero (took over) No.1. And I was, like, I was going to do Hero anyway. Sometimes I'm, like, Aren't they sick of that song by now? But I guess they're not."
Along with "Hero", expect to hear "Vision of Love" and "My All" as well as the "Charmbracelet" favorites "Through the Rain", "Boy (I Need You)" and "Bringin' on the Heartbreak", Carey's surprising cover of Def Leppard's hard-rocking hit. "I appreciate a good song from any genre of music," Carey reasons. "I just feel like that song is such a good song that it really stands alone. Even if you did it a capella, it would still (work)."
Besides singing "Hero" on stage, Carey has been acting like one off the stage as well. She has been a tireless supporter of the Save the Music Foundation, which funds musical education, training and awareness in schools. "If they are going to cut music out of the school programs," Carey says, "they may cut some kid's desire to even be in school."
Even after 14 years in the business, Carey is still passionate about music and it's obvious she feels she still has something to prove. But she isn't doing it for music critics or record executives or industry insiders. "At this point in my life, it's more about proving something to myself, in terms of Did I do a good job with this? Am I expressing myself honestly as an artist? That's where I am at this moment." Sounds like a good place to be.
(The Times Star)
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