Only dedicated and worthy fans got to be a part of Cat Power and The Still Tide’s moving performances on Saturday night at the Marquis Theatre in Denver. But that’s how the sole genius behind Cat Power, Charlyn “Chan” Marshall, would have wanted it — only the loyal listeners deserve to see Cat Power perform out of retirement. That’s why the Marquis sold out of tickets the Wednesday before the show.
Anna Morsett of The Still Tide came out eager yet humble with her band right at their scheduled start time of 7:30 p.m. Although they opened slow with “Rough House,” the set quickly picked up. In between songs Morsett said, “I’ll keep this short and sweet and get to the good stuff,” before starting the already popular tune “High Wire” off of their newest EP Run Out. The slightly raised stage of the Marquis was dressed with white holiday lights, wrapped all the way up Morsett’s microphone.
On The Still Tide’s third song “Give Me Time,” Morsett’s vocals were strong and fierce. “Dance with me till my heart changes…” she belted out with her band in full jam-out unison, which was impressive considering Morsett and Jake Miller had only rehearsed once before the show with Carl Sorensen (drums) and Jeremy Averitt (bass). The Still Tide’s normal bassist and drummer were both unavailable for the show. Next, the band played “Signal Fade,” and finished with a new song that Morsett jokingly called “Omni New.”
After a 30-minute stage clearing, Cat Power gracefully appeared from backstage. She wore an electric guitar around her neck, her signature thick, dark bangs and a white t-shirt with a cardigan. The crowd was still and silent at the sight of her. She started with a slow and solemn song, her voiced vibrating all around the theatre. During the first six or so songs, the bartenders had to clarify orders because no one wanted to speak above a whisper.
A case could be made that the demeanor of the audience members dictated the entire tone of the show. I, myself, got an elbow to the gut trying to take a photo of Cat Power performing. But she didn’t want to be seen, she wanted to be heard. She would play continuous songs, with only the dedicated fans at the front knowing when one song ended and another started (they would signal the applause to the rest of the blokes in a Cat Power-induced trance remembering their past loves). “She’s the Miles Davis of anti-folk,” a man said to his friend next to me.
About halfway through her set, Cat Power moved to the pianoforte. There, she played a resonating rendition of “Some Say Love” by LeAnn Rimes, followed up by her legendary hit “I Don’t Blame You.” Both were met with much applause and smartphone documentation. “I’m so blessed and honored to be alive and have a moment where I’m understood, where I’m not alone. Thank you for making me not feel like a crazy person. I wish you the best,” she admitted to the intimate crowd of around 160.
“Look after yourself and the people that love you. You could love a sandwich, you know. But some things don’t love you back and that’s the hardest lesson. I’m still learning it, and it’s the hardest thing I had to learn,” she told the crowd. She then sang an acoustic version of Billie Holiday’s, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” as she walked backward off the stage waving goodbye.