BEVERLY – A line stretched throughout downtown Beverly last weekend as Angie Miller returned to her hometown for the first of two sold-out shows at The Cabot. It was the first time the iconic, cultural institution filled every seat since reopening last fall, and Miller further joined restoration efforts by announcing she would donate a significant portion of the profits from ticket sales.
“There's nothing like coming home,” Angie said following her first performance. “I’m with those who have supported me since the very beginning. The energy on stage and out in the crowd is what continues to drive me to share my music.”
The auditorium was filled with a mixed crowd of younger fans and older supporters that included a multitude of community members who were introduced to Angie’s talents long before her days on American Idol. It has been two years since she played a show in Beverly, last singing here during the hometown visit show prior to her elimination in the 2013 competition.
“I think two years is way too long not to have a show,” Angie said. “It really is way too long. I promise it won’t be another two years.”
The concert included all the songs found on her recent Weathered EP, older originals like “You Set Me Free” and “Who You Are”, and fan favorite covers performed on Idol. Her band included three musicians from Los Angeles where the singer now resides, including her boyfriend DJ Williams and her brother John who played guitar, drums, and provided backup vocals.
“I was in high school doing my school musicals, and wanting to get views on YouTube, so I’d post covers. The first few that I posted were most of me and my brother,” Angie explained. “It’s amazing that after three or four years we get to sing this song on this stage.”
Angie’s friends and incredible musicians, Kevin William and Jen Aldana, joined the program. Aldana, a recent Berklee College of Music graduate, opened with tracks from her own EP that blended pop, country, and acoustic with beautiful vocals. William, a musician who helped write tracks on Miller’s debut, followed Aldana with his five-member band that amped up the sound and energy ahead of the headline performance.
The whirlwind road leading up to Angie’s hometown return was not an easy one. Her journey would take her on tours, to record a single, and to open for singer Michael W. Smith. The 21-year-old decided to take a different route to her post-Idol album release, wanting a legitimate seat at the table and control over her music and career path. Following a move to the west coast, she recorded and independently released her debut Weathered following a successful crowd-funding campaign.
During the launch of the EP, the singer-songwriter visited The Cabot for the first time, and decided to plan a hometown show.
“I know I could never get this amazing and incredible a crowd anywhere else besides my hometown,” Angie gushed to the crowd during her Sunday set. “It’s truly amazing.”
“I’m really glad that Angela came back to Beverly,” her father Guy said before Sunday’s show. “It’s good to know there’s still so many people that are supporters of her. As her Dad, I’d love to have her come out here more often.”
“Ange loves Beverly,” her mother Tana added. “She went through her high school years here, and just to have this kind of homecoming after two years is unbelievable.”
Angie also announced that profits from the two shows would be donated towards The Cabot’s restoration, improving theatergoers’ experiences. Enhancements already include updates to lighting, sound, and other equipment, and their campaign Buy A Seat, Save The Cabot is currently underway to replace seating.
Rich Marino of the nonprofit group working to restore The Cabot said the shows were the theater’s first to sell out since taking control, and is yet another step forward in bringing to life their vision to make a cultural center that all ages and all groups will enjoy. He effusively expressed his joy with Angie’s decision to return to her hometown and support of The Cabot’s mission.
“Here we have the girl that made good for Beverly on the national stage to help us save this beautiful theater,” Rich said admiringly. “We looked at closed doors for years, and now we see a line as far as our eyes can see. This is a dream come true for many Beverly citizens.”
Henry Bertolon echoed the sentiment as another instrumental player and local entrepreneur who purchased The Cabot for $1.2 million last fall. The nonprofit ownership group includes Bertolon, Marino, architect Thaddeus Siemasko, Beverly Bank Board of Directors Chairman William Howard, and Cinema Salem owner Paul Van Ness.
“We are so grateful to Angie Miller for offering to play at The Cabot, and agreeing to donate a significant portion of the proceeds to help the revitalization effort,” Henry said. “It’s not an easy business. We’re committed to doing everything we can as a board to make this a successful venue, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help. In the end, it’s not our theater. It’s yours.”