Brandi Carlile crossed a music threshold when she made her headlining debut at Madison Square Garden in 2019, the folk music visionary watching a seemingly out-of-reach dream come to life before her eyes.
The legendary venue chronicled Carlile’s journey to the stage with a two-part, four-minute series titled “Road to the Garden” that offers viewers a glimpse inside Carlile’s perspective as she prepares for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Ever the eloquent speaker, Carlile is introspective as she describes what this coveted opportunity means to her. “I am a visualizer and I’ve visualized some really big things in my life. But this might’ve actually been outside of my imagination,” she explains in a voice over that opens the mini-doc, capturing the final moments before she walks on stage. MSG completes the holy trinity of New York venues that artists dream of performing in, including Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre. Carlile remarks that taking the stage at the pair of other iconic institutions felt like climbing to the top of the career ladder. But the only way she could see headlining the Garden was in an “abstract sense.”
“I just wanted us to be on a really monumental stage some day. But this feels really profound to me,” the Grammy Award winner reflects as her longtime collaborators Phil and Tim Hanseroth (known as “the twins”), sit nearby on the bus, making their way to the Garden. Shots of Carlile and the twins walking on a custom red carpet that boasts her logo, leading them into the venue are among the memorable moments featured, along with a photo of the marquee advertising the show, which Phil refers to as a “We Are the Champions” type moment.
Part two of the video series shares footage from rehearsal, Carlile playing to an empty arena that will later be filled with thousands of fans, the singer laser-focused on giving them a high caliber show. She delivered on that promise and was clearly in her element on the massive stage as she proclaims to the capacity crowd “I am home,” a declaration that’s met with boisterous cheers of approval. Viewers listen in as she belts such signature songs as “The Joke,” her powerful voice soaring into the rafters. “There is not a nerdy little outcast with a guitar in the world that doesn’t dream of what I’m seeing right now,” she professes as the camera scans the packed house of roaring patrons, delighting in the set that included guest appearances by Mavis Staples and Carlile’s supergroup, The Highwomen.
While fans get to witness an awe-inspiring moment in Carlile’s life, they also watch her convey the humble mentality that got her there. “I would say love is my driving force. Love and forgiveness, radical positivity,” she manifests. “I hope that people leave here a little more willing to express themselves freely and believe that a stage like Madison Square Garden is not unattainable for any of us – because it wasn’t for me.”