They’ve done it again.
Starwood Preferred Guests and Live Nation have teamed up to bring another worldwide tour of intimate shows with some of today’s favorite artists. Last year, some of the top acts, such as One Republic, Imagine Dragons and Sara Bareilles, spanning across venues from San Francisco to Barcelona. This year, the SPG Hear the Music, See the World event made it to the luxurious US Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego, with multi Grammy award nominee, Jewel.
The night began with a private drink making course, from New York mixologist, Greg Seider, who is partnered with the Luxury Collection. His mixed drinks, as he states, are straight out of the kitchen, as he tells us that he spent most of his time speaking with chef’s rather than bartenders when coming up with new drink ideas. (Check out his book, Alchemy in a Glass)
Upstairs at the reception, many were dressed to the nine’s as SPG and the US Grant rolled out all the stops with hors d’eouvres, an automate photobooth, books and photographs, and more. People lined up early at the immaculate Presidential Ballroom for their chance to get the best seats in the house. The ballroom, was low lit, with white couches and tables adorned with candles spanning from wall to wall. The stage, too, was decorated with candles, and a guitar sat center stage.
“As usual, I have no plan. Welcome to my show.”
Jewel’s story is the epitome of rags to riches. She grew up in Homer, Alaska where her family (also the focus of Discovery show Alaska: The Last Frontier) passed down their love of music. At a young age, she sang in bars with her father and as a teenager, moved out of Alaska in hopes of finding her place in music. After attending school in Michigan, she made it out to San Diego where a bit of bad luck caused Jewel to be forced to live in her car. After meeting local Steve Poltz, and writing songs with him, she released her debut album Pieces of You (’95), which garnered so much attention, it went 12x platinum and gained Jewel a spot in “Definitive 200” in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Throughout the night, Jewel would stop to tell stories from her life, take requests from the audience, and crack a few jokes. Most of the time, a combination of the three. At one point, an audience member creatively yelled out “Freebird!” as the singer was taking requests, prompting her, without missing a beat, to raise her hand making a ‘freebird’ sign with her fingers. In all honesty, with her self deprecating humor, I haven’t laughed so hard at a concert in a long time, if ever.
Jewel’s talent is undeniable. Her voice can easily fill the air without, from what it seems, much effort from Jewel’s part. Her voice rises and falls between notes while maintaining the perfect timbre. While simultaneously belting out her tunes, Jewel displays her talent with a guitar as she strums and fingerpicks without any back up.
Jewel’s encore (well, pseudo encore as her broken foot which she had been standing on all night, prevented her from walking offstage then back on) was an impressive display of yodeling talent she picked up from her childhood. An incredible ending to a night that SPG guests won’t soon forget.