DUBUQUE — Jewel got just a little bit testy Thursday night at Diamond Jo Casino’s Mississippi Moon Bar.
“I know there are a lot of people here on dates hoping to hook up after the show,” said the multiplatinum singer-songwriter about a quarter of the way into her nearly two-hour set. “But, guys, she’s already made up her mind, and all the talking while I’m singing won’t help your case.”
There was a lot of talking while Jewel was singing, but I blame the venue, not the crowd. This was the first show I’ve attended at the Moon Bar, which opened late last year. It’s a very attractive venue, with chic design and decor that gives it the feel of a trendy Las Vegas music club.
The problem with the Moon Bar, though, is that it’s split into four different viewing areas. The floor and loge are reserved seating areas with magnificent stage views, while the second-level bar area and fourth-level mezzanine are general-admission standing areas with terrible sightlines. Many people in those areas seemed to give up on the show and chat with their friends instead.
After Jewel’s admonishment to the crowd, everyone quieted down enough that I finally was able to focus on the show. Jewel, her long blonde hair flowing over her shoulders, looked playful in a flowing green blouse and black tights and high heels. Her distinctive voice was in fine form, with a massive range that allows her to sing in everything from a quiet mumble to an ear-shattering yodel.
Jewel, 34, who performed solo, opened the show with an a cappella version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which probably would have sounded nice if I had been able to hear it over the crowd. She also ended the show a cappella, showing off her impressive yodeling skills. That was easy to hear.
The first of many hits Jewel played was “Hands,” from her second album, 1998’s “Spirit.” The song’s slinky chorus sounded even better live than it does on record. Right after that, Jewel put on her best vocal performance of the night on another “Spirit” song, “Down So Long.”
Throughout the night, Jewel acted like a stand-up comedian between songs, telling funny stories about the many adventures she’s had hitchhiking across the country and living in her car, making me feel like I’ve led a very, very dull life.
Jewel saved a couple of her biggest hits for near the end of the show, “You Were Meant for Me” and “Who Will Save Your Soul,” both from her 1995 debut, “Pieces of You.” Both songs sounded great, and Jewel even joked that the first time she heard “Who Will Save Your Soul” on the radio, she was upset no one had told her she sounded like Kermit the Frog. Talented, and funny? What a combination.
Were you at the show? What did you think?