Live Review: Tristan Prettyman at the Belly Up, February 1, 2013

San Diego is one of those places that, no matter what, will always welcome its children back with open arms. This particular time it was our songstress princess, Tristan Prettyman. Prettyman played the first of two sold-out shows Friday evening and spent the show catching up with a thousand of her closest friends.

With her full band reserved for the Saturday evening show, Friday was purely an acoustic evening. She began with the moving ballad “Say Anything,” her bittersweet, heartfelt lyrics and peaceful harmonies creating a guiding light for the rest of the evening. Prettyman’s set consisted of many tracks from her most recent album, Cedar & Gold, her best album so far. Between each song, she shared anecdotes with the crowd, including tales of growing up in Solana Beach/San Diego and her newfound post-breakup life as a self-declared “serial dater.”

Even through the darkness of the more emotional tracks, Prettyman showed a strong love for the brightness of tomorrow and her hometown. “Love, Love, Love,” her love letter to our fair city from 2005’s t w e n t y t h r e e, made for a pleasant early addition to the evening. (The track paired well with opener The Paul Cannon Band‘s own San Diego love song, “Homegrown,” which you may have heard in KPRI’s current TV commercial.)

Knowing about Prettyman’s personal life is not a prerequisite for identifying with her music, though the way she is able to intermingle the two is nothing short of remarkable. This became especially apparent during the introduction of “I Was Gonna Marry You,” a pleasantly surprising inclusion in the live set.

“Second Chance” provided a lovely beginning to the end of the night and sounded as wonderful in its acoustic form as it does with a full band. The song capped off a magical night inside Prettyman’s hometown — and all of ours. (That magical feeling was clearly lost on the few gentlemen who insisted on yelling out “Jason Mraz!” at the ends of songs. Prettyman, to her credit, was unfazed.) When it comes to embodying the San Diego lifestyle that everyone dreams about, there are few performances better than the one on Friday evening from Tristan Prettyman.

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