Rachel Platten has waited a long time to play a room the size of Center Stage.
The voice and sunny personality behind the ubiquitous “Fight Song” and her current anthem of support, “Stand By You,” has toiled in the trenches for more than a decade. But her expanding success is an all-too-rare happy new chapter in her career.
Platten is a bit like a slightly glossier Sheryl Crow during her early solo days – a triple threat performer who is a classically trained pianist, an able guitarist and a powerhouse vocalist – and her songs burst with melodic tunefulness.
Not to mention her incredible likability, also an all-too-rare trait among today’s pop stars.
Backed by a trio of musicians, Platten exhausted herself on stage during her latest visit to Atlanta (the show was moved from The Loft to Center Stage to accommodate ticket demand).
Here is what we learned:
She’s crafted a fun, compact pop show:
In our interview just before her tour kickoff last week, Platten noted that she felt like with this “Wildfire” tour, she finally had the time to prepare “something special.” Within her first three songs at Wednesday’s concert – “Beating Me Up,” “Lone Ranger” and “You Don’t Know My Heart” – the vivacious singer had convincingly stalked the stage, strapped on a guitar, waved to her littlest fans squealing on the steps near the front of the stage and hopped on and off a couple of slightly raised platforms in her groovy ankle boots. The red lights that blinked during “Congratulations” and slinky moves that Platten presented for the funk-gospel-pop tune “Hey, Hey Hallelujah” demonstrated she could effortlessly command a larger room on her next tour.
She isn’t your ordinary cover girl:
Give Platten some Bieber and watch the magic. As she sat quietly on a stool with her guitarist plucking an acoustic at her side, Platten rolled through “Love Yourself” in a smooth tone that was entirely expected. What was not at all expected were her rather capable beat boxing skills demonstrated at song’s end. Later in her 70-minute show, Platten also tackled Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” and turned it into an actual song filled with slow-burning intensity and, once the beat kicked in, hair-thrashing power.
She isn’t about to forget her roots:
While many in the sold-out crowd looked too young to have discovered Platten before “Fight Song” turned her from perennial bar band singer to emerging pop star, she reminded the audience not only of the numerous times she’s played Atlanta, but of her long-held New York roots, which she expounded on lyrically in “Angels in Chelsea.” But Platten also threw in a nugget for the long-timers (or at least those who remember her from 2011) with the glorious “1,000 Ships.” It’s the type of song that made you shake your head and wonder, “How was this NOT a hit?” Then again, after spending an hour in Platten’s presence, it’s also natural to wonder, “How was this woman NOT a star?” Better late than never.