Michelle Branch has been appearing as an opening act for many major artists, a key move on her part. Branch's latest stint was with the Dixie Chicks at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 25, 2003.

     Branch's abbreviated set may have only lasted for eight songs, but she turned in an excellent performance none the less. Her stage presence has grown, allowing her to project herself in the larger venues she has been playing as an opening artist. Branch moved about the immense center stage with the confidence and professionalism of a seasoned pro.

     "Love Me Like That", a fluid rocker off her new disc Hotel Paper, launched her set. Branch sang into a mike backed by a five piece band, crisscrossing the high tech stage. Branch performed her massive hit single, "Everywhere", on acoustic guitar. The tougher arrangement generated squeals of approval from her young fans in the audience.

     "Goodbye To You", another former single off The Spirit Room, the photogenic artisit on acoustic guitar. Played in a slightly slower tempo, the tune was punctuated by heavey-handed drumming. "Empty Handed" began with a percussion intro. An organ undercurrent supported the song, which culminated in a band-jam crescendo.

DC setlist: Love Me Like That * Everywhere * Breathe * Goodbye To You * Empty Handed * Game Of Love * All You Wanted * Are You Happy Now?

RockonTour   Issue #22
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Beauty and the guitar
Michelle Branch is a rising star

by Timothy Tilghman