Ani DiFranco, famously independent within the music industry, continues to self-release all of her output on her own "Righteous Babe" label. Ani has released a couple of live albums over her 17 year career to date, including the definitive and all-encompassing 2002 release "So Much Shouting, So Much Laughing", which is basically a "greatest hits live" release.
"Carnegie Hall 4.6.02" (15 tracks, 68 min.) was recorded on the same tour that would give us the "So Much Shouting" release, but this recoding is very different: for one, this is just Ani solo, no backing band. For another, this recording includes early versions of 2 epic songs within the Ani DiFranco catalogue: the 10 min. "Serpentine", in which Ani assails anything and everything that represents "authority", including Democrats and Republicans alike, but of course also "big business". (The fleshed out version of this song was eventually released on the 2003 album "Evolve".) The other piece is the 9+ min. "Self Evident": not a song, but a spoken piece in which Ani resets the 9/11 tragedy in her own words and world ("On the day that America fell onto its knees"). While I don't see the connection, Ani has no trouble linking 9/11 to her beliefs that there is no freedom of the press here and that America is not a democracy. Does it not strike anyone as ironic that Ani is not bothered by anyone saying these things and makes a living, and a very nice one at it, performing all over this country and proclaiming these "truths"?
I saw Ani and her band in concert on that Spring, 2002 tour, and when she brought "Self Evident" (which was a new piece at that time), the entire theater was just bowled over by the performance. I don't necessarily agree with her view of things, but one cannot help but admire the "art" and the "artist" in such a performance. The "Carnegy Hall" album is not essential as such in Ani's catalogue (if you don't have it yet, check out the "So Much Shouting" live album), but this album does bring a fascinating "snapshot of a moment", as Ani puts it herself in the excellent liner notes.