Alanis Morissette Offers Love, Shirtless Men At In-Store Performance

Singer plays New York's Times Square Virgin Megastore on day of album release.

NEW YORK — “I love you, too,” Alanis Morissette said to a packed basement after her brief set at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square Tuesday. It was one of only a few times she spoke to the crowd gathered there on the day her latest album, Under Rug Swept, was released, and her response was long overdue, given that the (surprisingly) mostly male audience had been expressing its affections to her at nearly every break in the music.

Backed by a five-piece band, three members of which — including former Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery — were shirtless, Morissette breezed through an assemblage of her past and present work. Her latest single, “Hands Clean,” was received with as much joyous appreciation as older album cuts such as “Head Over Feet,” from her 1995 breakthrough LP, Jagged Little Pill. (Click for onstage photos from the event)

After more than six years as a superstar in the U.S., Morissette still seems cagey being so sincere onstage, an aspect that comprises part of her charm. Though a third guitar was hardly needed to add further layers to the music, she seemed to feel more comfortable strapped with a gold, glittery electric or wood-bodied acoustic guitar while belting her verses, acting more like as coffeehouse folkie than bodacious self-assured spotlight star.

All security shrouds were shed, however, as she burst into the set-closer, “You Oughta Know.” The guitar riffs were chunkier than on record as the band really showed its mettle on the set’s most rocking number. Morissette, meanwhile, stomped around the stage, swinging her locks of long brown hair with every punctuated beat.

Sure, the encore number, “Thank U,” was a little obvious, especially when prefaced by “I’m so grateful, I just want to say …,” but the song’s appreciative theme was spot-on considering the symbolic group hug that embodied the evening’s performance.

For a free streaming audio preview of HREF="http://www.mtv.com/music/first_listen/alanis/">Under Rug Swept,.
go to MTV.com’s First Listen.

For a full-length Alanis Morissette feature, check out “Alanis Morissette: The Silence Is Over.”

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