Since we opened our doors in 2001, we’ve had the good fortune here at the Les Schwab Amphitheater to have hosted a Who’s Who of amazing female artists. Neko Case, Brandi Carlile, Alison Krauss, Sherly Crow, and Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of The B-52s are the first to come to mind.
We’ve also had the chance to see some super-talented rock stars on the rise to stardom. Here’s looking at you Jade Bird, HIRIE, Alexis Krauss (Sleigh Bells), Rachael Price (Lake Street Dive), and Charity Rose Thielen (The Head and the Heart).
Here’s a look at some of our favorite performances by badass women over the past few years with a Spotify playlist at the end of the article:
Sheryl Crow, September 2008: Best LSA entrance ever? Crow didn’t take the Amphitheater stage until 9:15 p.m., having flown in late from Denver. The reason? She performed that same night at the Democratic National Convention, where the then 47-year-old junior senator from Illinois had just made history by accepting his party’s nomination for president of the United States. Crow thrived on the energy of the day and the crowd’s anticipation – a young Brandi Carlile was the opener – and played for nearly 2 hours straight. Hits from her breakout album, “Tuesday Night Music Club,” Aerosmith and Rolling Stones covers, power ballads – Crow rode the high of the day and we were blissfully along for the ride. Bonus points for Crow returning to the Amphitheater in 2018 (picture above) and showing off just as much as energy as she had back in 2008.
Jenny Lewis, May 2015: We knew Lewis was a woman of many skills – see Rilo Kiley, The Postal Service and the Hollywood classic Troop Beverly Hills – and she showcased them all opening for Ryan Adams in 2015. Working mainly with an acoustic guitar alongside her five-piece band, Lewis bounced back and forth between Rilo Kiley classics and recent work she’d done with the Watson Twins. Oh, and she beamed LA cool in her rainbow suit.
Brittany Howard (frontwoman of Alabama Shakes), May 2016: What a way to kick off the 2016 concert season. In front of a sold-out crowd, Howard and Co. flat-out rocked. A little bit Sam Cooke, a little bit Jack White, Howard’s sound/energy/talent flat-out floored us. Is there a better soul singer making records right now? Or one that rocks as much as Howard? Not in our book.
Jewel, June 2017: Can you be underrated even if you’ve won multiple Grammys and sold more than 30 million records? We’re not sure why Jewel doesn’t get her deserved due, but we’re grateful we got to see one of our favorite Alaskans – no worries Portugal The Man, you’re up there, too – on a blustery June day three years ago. Jewel does so many things so well – lyrics, guitar, singing – and bounces in and out of folk, pop, country, and American sounds, we could listen to her all day.
Neko Case, May 2018: Another season opener, Case – appearing before Ray LaMontagne – showed us why she’s always been our favorite maneater. An alt-country pioneer as a solo artist and with The New Pornographers, Case has always made us pine for those gritty dive bars of our youth that raged with punk rock one night and steel guitars the next. (Looking at you Ash Street Saloon.)
Brandi Carlile, July 2018: Brandi was no stranger to Bend when she took the LSA stage two summers ago – she’d performed at the Amphitheater and The Tower before – but we witnessed an artist who was in full break-out mode that Saturday night. Five months later Brandi would go on to win three Grammys and win the hearts and souls of Americans everywhere, not just in her native Pacific Northwest.
Rachael Price (Lake Street Dive lead singer), August 2019: We’d caught Price and Lake Street Dive at the Sisters Folk Festival several years before, but nothing prepared us for the way she owned the stage last August opening for the Avett Brothers.