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Alanis Morissette (Finally) Celebrates 25 Years of Jagged Little Pill in Montreal: Review, Photos, and Setlist

Musical icon finally launched her highly anticipated anniversary tour following a two-year delay

alanis morissette concert review live montreal jagged little pill 25th anniversary
Alanis Morissette, photo by Patrick Beaudry
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    Like so many other highly anticipated world tours, Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette had to wait an extra two years to finally mark 25 Years of Jagged Little Pill — or if we’re being pedantic, 27 years. After kicking things off in Europe, the Ottawa native began the North American leg of the tour in her hometown on July 10th before performing at Montreal’s Bell Centre two days later. (Get tickets to the rest of her upcoming dates here!)

    Although the night started with harmonica blazing to album opener “All I Really Want,” the rest of the evening in Montreal didn’t flow exactly as the Jagged Little Pill recording. The 48-year-old, with the same athletic stage-hopping zeal from her youth, played the entire album mostly out of order, with a few other hits such as “Uninvited” and “Thank U” saved for the encore and brief snippets of latter-day tracks interspersed throughout.

    The night began with a video retrospective that captured the Jagged Little Pill zeitgeist: from late night appearances and self-deprecating sketches to her cameo as God in Kevin Smith’s Dogma and the incomparable Wesley Willis’ video tribute. The package also delved into her history as a Canadian teen pop star and child actor.

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    After postponing UK dates in Leeds and Manchester in June to rest her voice, she emphatically threw cold water on the notion that she might take it easy on stage in Montreal: Morissette’s singing reached the rafters and outshone even some of her recorded versions. Where there may have been an adjustment was limiting the stage banter to a few “thank you”s — unlike opener Shirley Manson of Garbage, who took time to remind the intergenerational audience of the proud feminist and LGBTQ+ roots of both acts.

    Following the opener, Morissette kept the Jagged Little Pill hits coming with “Hand in My Pocket,” which elicited the first of many sing-alongs on the night. “Right Through You” brought the record’s palpable anger to the forefront, while “You Learn” – closer to the LP version than the faster live video version – had the crowd chanting once again. Morissette also changed the lyric, “Wear it out (the way a three-year-old would do),” to the ages of her three children.

    alanis morissette jagged little pill 25th anniversary tour review

    Alanis Morissette, photo by Patrick Beaudry

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    “Forgiven” and “Mary Jane” slowed things down slightly, with the latter especially giving the singer a chance to stretch herself vocally. There’s a lot of physical technique in Morissette’s singing — like when she swings her shoulder back or completely lurches forward — and when she was really stretching her notes, there were moments on Tuesday night where she sounded better than she did in the 1990s.

    The new songs were mostly limited to quick segues, although she did play Such Pretty Forks in the Road single “Reasons I Drink,” which had a few too many overdubs compared to the rest. She also brought out the sweet and heartfelt “Ablaze,” which updates the letter-writing lyrics of Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie’s “Unsent” to be for her children. In between those cuts was another Jagged Little Pill standard, “Head Over Feet”; Morissette’s harmonica playing was met with adulation from the crowd every time.

    Following Jagged trio “Perfect,” “Wake Up,” and “Not the Doctor,” Morissette dedicated her performance of audience favorite “Ironic” to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who was in Morissette’s band before joining the rock group in 1997. Hawkins figured prominently in the aforementioned tour video of “You Learn,” and clips from that footage were shown during “Ironic,” along with some highway shots from the song’s own memorable video.

    Morissette and her backing quintet closed the pre-encore portion of the night with a fiery take on “You Oughta Know,” complete with a video of a burning car in the background. (Feel free to speculate on the owner of the car in the same way people speculated on the subject of the song in 1995.)

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    With Jagged Little Pill fully accounted for, she delivered some curveballs for the encore, starting with hidden bonus track “Your House.” Best known for its appearance from her MTV Unplugged album (hidden bonus tracks? Unplugged? Could this paragraph date itself any harder?), “Uninvited” gave additional low-end thump to proceedings, and while 1998’s Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was otherwise mostly ignored early on in the night (minus a blip of “Sympathetic Character”), it made for a rousing finale with “Thank U.”

    More than a quarter century after her groundbreaking work, Morissette’s regained arena status is well-earned. She’ll never escape Jagged Little Pill in the way Boston will never escape Boston or The Cars will never escape their hit-laden eponymous debut, but it’s less an indictment of the rest of her work and more an acknowledgment that such a seismic event was destined to never repeat. To her credit, Morissette has had fun with it, dropping 20th and 25th anniversary reissues, recording an acoustic version, and even adapting it into a Tony Award-winning musical (which closed far too soon due to Omicron).

    The album’s enduring influence now spans two generations, as the Avril Lavignes/Kelly Clarksons that cited it as an inspiration have now given way to the Olivia Rodrigos/Gayles. Morissette’s latest tour is no mere blast from the past, it’s a reminder⁠ — if one was even needed⁠ — that Jagged Little Pill is a timeless classic. If you need more proof, get tickets to the rest of the tour via Ticketmaster.

    Setlist:
    All I Really Want
    Hand in My Pocket
    Right Through You
    You Learn
    Hands Clean (snippet)
    Forgiven
    Everything (snippet)
    Mary Jane
    Diagnosis (snippet)
    Reasons I Drink
    Head Over Feet
    So Unsexy (snippet)
    Ablaze
    Nemesis (snippet)
    Perfect
    Losing the Plot (snippet)
    Wake Up
    Not the Doctor
    Ironic
    Smiling
    I Remain
    You Oughta Know
    Encore
    Your House
    Uninvited
    Thank U

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