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Ani DiFranco returns to rock'n'roll at First Ave

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There's not much more that I can say about my fandom for Ani DiFranco that hasn't already been covered in my column this week, so I'll keep this recap brief, lest I veer into gush-mode once more. Sunday's set at First Avenue was one of the best I have seen locally (yes, I've seen her in two other states), and she seemed to feed off the energy of the rock club. "I love that, like, three of you have little romantic tables," she said, gesturing to the small group of seated folks in the balcony. "Everyone else is fucking standing."

In contrast to her last few local shows, which have all taken place at theaters, DiFranco took advantage of the big open room and played her set with a fierce, sweaty intensity. She seemed to mix in more up-tempo material to accomodate the standing crowd ("Look at you, all up on your hind legs!" she remarked between songs), including a particularly funky version of "Fuel," "Names and Dates," and "Two Little Girls."

In between old crowd favorites and songs off of her last studio album, 2008's <i>Red Letter Year</i>, DiFranco sprinkled in four new songs: a back-to-basics anthem, "Splinter"; an ode to Obama, "November 4, 2008"; a song about overexposure that featured the line "Every time I open my mouth I take off all my clothes"; and a song that felt like an instant classic with the declaration, "If you're not getting happier as you get older, then you're fucking up."

See below for the full set list, and here's a video of the Obama song:

Ani DiFranco at First Ave 9/20/09 Set List (new songs marked with **):

Anticipate

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78% Water

Manhole

Modulation

Fuel

Splinter**

November 4, 2008**

Smiling Underneath

Present/Infant

Names and Dates

Two Little Girls

Exposed**

Which Side Are You On? (traditional)

If You're Not**

Untouchable Face

Shameless

Encore:

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Both Hands

Evolve

Hypnotized