Final concert of the season for local venue draws large crowd

PASO ROBLES — In what was the final concert of the season at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre venue, Sara Bareilles busted out one hit song after another to a nearly-packed house on Sunday night.

The show, part of the singer-songwriter’s “Amidst the Chaos!” tour, had Grammy nominee Emily King opening the evening after a brief introduction from Bareilles. King delivered a mix of tunes designed to spark that perfect blend of romance and desire. With her lush vocals, King encouraged the crowd to “get up, dance and move” as she delighted with a rousing set of melodies.

After a brief intermission, Bareilles took the stage to a roaring applause. She talked about not being on tour for the past six years, her involvement with the Broadway production, “Waitress,” and her overall feeling of joy to be sharing her music with the audience. 

“A few years ago, when I was trying to learn how to cope in this world, I joined a meditation group,” Bareilles said, as she set up for her melody, “Eyes on You.” “We were all basically seeking the same thing — a way to feel peaceful among the chaos. So, I wrote this song and put all of these people that I met into it. The point being: at the end of the day, we’ve got to keep our eye on the prize, which is love, and let that be the guiding force.”

And, alas, that was the theme of the evening — love, love, love.

With her top hit, “Love Song,” Bareilles had the crowd singing and dancing in the aisles. She dedicated a rousing rendition of “Hand Me My Armor,” a tune she said was inspired after being part of the Women’s March, to “all of my sisters and friends.” Bareilles invited King back on stage to perform the crowd-pleasing “If I Can’t Have You,” a song the two artists co-wrote.

A set of melodies from “Waitress,” a project that made Bareilles a Broadway composer and one she said reoriented her life “in the most profound and unimaginable ways,” brought tears of joy to several audience members, including Marcy and Jaime Keyser-Goodnow.

“I was lucky enough to see ‘Waitress’ on Broadway and feel very connected to the music,” said Marcy, Director of Theatre Arts at Paso Robles High School. “‘You Matter to Me’ and ’Soft Place to Land’ evoked many tears for me personally. Sara Bareilles is a gift and we are so lucky she played right here in Paso. She is personable and vulnerable, her voice is unbelievable, and she sings from the heart.”

“Her range of musical talent in playing piano, guitar, and her vocals are truly amazing,” audience member Anne Hagy said of Bareilles. “Visually, this concert was a 10 and my favorite part was when she included some of her back-up musicians in duets. And the Vina Robles venue is incredible. It was my first time here, and I will definitely return next year.”

Bareilles encouraged everyone to “stand up, dance, and warm up your clappers” while delivering hits including “Uncharted” and “Let the Rain Come Down.” The crowd stayed on its feet and sang along to “King of Everything,” and “Brave,” a song Bareilles said she wrote as a love song for a dear friend.

“Thank you all for taking the time to be with us tonight,” Bareilles said. “My mom is here, my best friends are here, and it’s a special time to share with people you love…and I love all of you! You are all the brightest lights tonight.”

A standing ovation brought Bareilles and her band back on stage as she delivered a heartfelt rendition of “St. Honesty” while pages of song lyrics floated from above and into the crowd.