Sensational Singers From The 90s Dazzle Crowd At Riviera

Concert Review
Paula Cole
Sophie B. Hawkins
Riviera Theatre
North Tonawanda, NY
Saturday July 30, 2022
Review: Joseph Suto
Photos: Joseph Suto

A pair of artists who got their start in the 90s appeared together Saturday night at the Riviera Theatre. Paula Cole and Sophie B. Hawkins teamed up for a dynamic show that left one wondering why they are not playing bigger venues at this point in their careers. Both artists performed at a high level which was felt by the appreciative, yet small crowd. I can honestly say this was one of the finest shows I’ve seen since the start of the pandemic.

Paula Cole became a household name with the release of This Fire back in 1996. The album shot up to #20 on the Billboard album charts and has sold over 2 million copies in the U.S. Cole, who started off as a singer on Peter Gabriel’s “Secret World” tour in 93/94, mentioned during the show how she went from 5 star hotels and playing large packed arenas to playing to a handful people in a coffee shop in a short time. She persevered and has had quite a career.

Cole was celebrating the 25th anniversary of This Fire by playing nine of the eleven tracks off it. Some of the highlights included “Blues In Gray”, “Throwing Stones” and the top 10 smash “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?”. Cole’s voice was in top form all night as she went from slower ballad type songs to a few heavier songs. Her backing band was solid as well.

Back for an encore Cole seemed to be very emotional but kept herself in check as she broke into “Mississippi”. She seemed to really appreciate the crowd as she ended with perhaps her best known song “I Don’t Want To Wait”. Overall a fantastic performance that the small crowd enjoyed and truly appreciated.

Opening the show was Sophie B. Hawkins. Hawkins whose first two albums, Tongues and Tails and Whaler, both reached gold status. Hawkins put on a spunky and energetic performance. She even pulled out her banjo for what is one of world’s most underrated gems in “Lose Your Way”. She also told how refusing to remove the banjo from that song among other things got her bounced from her label at the time. Hawkins was accompanied by a drummer and a keyboardist who also played guitar and piano when it was needed. Hawkins set was perfect and helped to set the tone for the evening which showcased how great these two artists truly are.

Paula Cole Set

Strong Beautiful Woman
Blues In Gray
Happy Home
Saturn Girl
Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?
Throwing Stones
Feelin’ Love
Hush, Hush, Hush.

I Don’t Want to Wait

Sophie B Hawkins Set

Mysteries We Understand
Before I Walk on Fire
As I Lay Me Down
Right Beside You
(New Song)
Love Yourself
I’m Better Off Without You
Lose Your Way
No Connection
You Are My Balloon
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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