Jewel San Manuel Casino

Jewels a babe.
Jewels a babe.

Never before have I seen the snaggle-toothed queen of hippie-folk-pop-(and now country) perform live, but alas the smoke filled San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino decided to accommodate as many Southern California fans as would come when they showcased a performance by Jewel last Thursday. Prior to the show I was not quite sure how familiar I was with Jewel’s catalog. I did go through high school surrounded by girls who played “Pieces of You” on repeat for about 34 months straight, and so I was ready for hits like that at any karaoke bar. I found myself somewhat familiar with her singles from her sophomore and junior albums, but, unfortunately, I had not even heard a single track from her newly released “country” album. Yet despite my vast ignorance concerning her latest music I was excited to see the yodeling super-nova. After entering the venue in curiosity I perused the audience not knowing what genre Jewel might attract. I honestly expected to witness a room full of late 20’s folks, but there seemed to be quite a few older mom-folk-type people, a few country music fans, and a few couples of the lesbian persuasion (and perhaps that was the work of the all-female music festival “Lillith Fair” from back in the late 90’s).
After observing the crowd, the lights dimmed and the curtains opened to a Zen influenced scene of Jewel sitting on a chair, a classical guitar, another acoustic guitar, a small table topped with a peaceful bouquet, and a glass of tea. All was quiet when Jewel began her A cappella version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Upon hearing the first few notes from that perfectly dynamic seasoned voice I realized why Jewel was such a success in the music industry (not to mention that after watching American Idol and realizing what a good voice truly is, I have a much greater appreciation for the fact that Jewel has sold a bazillion records). Jewel then launched into her set, devoting about half the night to some of her more recognizable hits. She played a “new” song that was brilliant, and her country songs sounded very solid. Jewel really gave the audience a treat when she called up Ty Murray’s (Ty Murray, the accomplished rodeo champion and husband of Jewel) dancing partner from the television show “Dancing With the Stars” to join her on stage and sing with her. Ty’s partner, whose name escapes me at the moment, had a good voice, but when placed next to Jewel sounded like an injured rabbit. At this point Ty Murray, much to the delight and surprise of the “country” portion of the audience, was called forth on stage and shyly staggered out for a few un-climatic moments of jargon led by Jewel and Ty’s obnoxious dancing partner.
Later in the night Jewel opened a question-and-answer session. Jewel was asked about the condition of her leg, and it was sad to hear that Jewel’s leg is quite damaged and that she will not be competing on Dancing With the Stars alongside her husband.
And for the super-fan of Jewel I want to mention a few notable points that were brought up; first, Jewel said she will soon be releasing a Lullaby album that will feature songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Second, she is also considering doing a tour entirely consisting of “Pieces of You.”
Overall the show was pleasant, and despite a few of her forced and recycled anecdotes, Jewel was a real peach, and if she was on American Idol I would definitely vote for her. -Jason Estopinal


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