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Archive for February, 2011

The Funky Meters (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Three Nights of The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (01.15-17.11)

This was an event!  In the same spirit as Phanatics travel to Coventry for three nights of Phish, died hard Meters fans traveled far and wide to witness The Funky Meters magic occur over a span of three nights at the beloved Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY.

For having never been to New York, I have never felt more at home in a brand new place. I can’t help but compare the room to the Rock N Bowl in New Orleans, a similar venue with a bowling alley and large stage for music, but this room has a great layout. A bar in the back, with a large dance floor area, the stage straight ahead. And to the side, a few steps up, rows of bowling lanes, with a walkway in front, providing a side stage vantage that lets one really feel like part of the performance. Everywhere you stand, there is a great vantage point of the stage, the lighting is good and the sound quality anywhere in the room was great too. ~ NOLA resident, Ananda Atmore

George Porter Jr. (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

George Porter Jr. (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Back in 1967, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville collected a funky gang of New Orleans musicians who would come to be known as The Meters, .  George Porter Jr. played bass, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville played keys, Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste on drums and Leo Nocentelli on guitar! In 1977, they called it quits, leaving behind a musical legacy cementing them as Funk pioneers.

Russel Batiste (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Once the group disbanded, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville joined with his brothers performing as The Neville Brothers while George Porter Jr. founded PBS, or Porter, Batiste and Stolz.  Since The Neville Brothers were not touring this season, Art Neville was openly available to hit the road with The Funky Meters, who are the members of PBS with the addition of Art “Poppa Funk” Neville.

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Brian Stolz (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Brian Stoltz (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

It had been three years since The Funky Meters last played together. When Brian Stoltz isn’t wowing the audience with his shredding guitar style with The Funky Meters, Ian Neville holds the guitar spot. Essentially, in the middle of all these Meters heads were PBS fans and EVERYONE was a George Porter Jr. fan! But, honestly, who doesn’t love George Porter Jr.?  Go check my facebook info under “religion”, you’ll find George Porter Jr.‘s name stands alone!

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (02.15.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

I was lucky enough to have the wonderful New Orleans photographer Jeffrey Dupuis (Jeffrey Dupuis Photography) as a house guest for the three night run.  We arrived in Brooklyn just in time to grab something to eat some scrumptious $3.50 falafel sandwiches at Oasis, one of my favorite spots to hit before heading to The Brooklyn Bowl.

The turn out for a Tuesday night was exactly what we thought it would be. The venue was no where near sold out but the place was full of people who knew what was going to take place on stage that night. And what a great warm-up performance it was.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

As they took the stage, each member had a blazing smile on their face and the audience was wild with applause. George Porter Jr. notices a couple in the audience wearing a “George Matters” tie-dyed tee shirt, the same shirt they had personally created and gifted to him many moons ago.  “I recognize that shirt,” he states as he starts the first jam, which was so unbelievably funky.

The following four songs were from The Meters catalog.  “The World” brought the funk full throttle as Brian Stoltz reminded me how much I had missed seeing him perform.  He is truly superb with his rock-driven funk guitar styling. “Fire on The Bayou” and “Change/Reform”  had the entire audience singing as they were the most recognizable Meters songs performed that night.  Porter growled deeply into the microphone as they pounded out a wonderful “Here Comes the Jungle Man” that book-ended a “They Don’t Know” tease.

The noticeable covers of the night were Lee Dorsey‘s “Get Out of My Life, Woman”, Professor Longhair‘s “Going to Mardi Gras” and Tom Waits‘s “Way Down in the Hole”. Porter and Russell Batiste, Jr. both pulled out solos that earned their own spot in the set list! Art showed his age but with a smile on his face, he played through with energy and had a few golden moments himself.

Best reason to do three nights: Rare Songs ~ NOLA Photographer Jeffrey Dupuis

In the end, we were given almost two hours of pure Funky Meters gold and we all walked out of The Brooklyn Bowl terribly excited and putting together our wish list for tomorrow night’s set list!

Set List – Night I
A Jam*
The World Is A Little Under The Weather >
Chicken Strut >
…Fire On The Bayou >
Cardova >
Get Out Of My Life Woman >
Here Come’s The Jungle Man >
They Don’t Know (tease) >
Here Come’s The Jungle Man >
Change/Reform >
Hang ‘Em High >
Africa >
Going To Mardi Gras >
Cabbage Alley >
Going To Mardi Gras >
Porter’s bass solo >
Way Down in The Hole >
Russel Drum Clinic>
Just Kissed My Baby
Porter’s bass solo >
Just Kissed My Baby >
It Ain’t No Use

* Art sings Billy Jean (Michael Jackson)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (02.16.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Special Guests:
Nigel Hall– Vocals/Keys
Eric Krasno – Guitar
Adam Deitch – Drums

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The second night had more of a turn out.  People had heard the buzz about the previous night and the venue was now 60-70% full.  My girlfriend, Ananda, was flying in from NOLA directly to the show.  As she flew towards us to the airport, my NYC crew and I hightailed it from Rockwood Music Hall after watching Nigel Hall Band perform on their quaint stage.  We all had our rage faces on as there would also be a third show we would be hitting after The Funky Meters.  As well, we had the knowledge of knowing that the Nigel Hall Band would be joining The Funky Meters on stage later that night. The excitement was never ending.

I had flown in straight from New Orleans, made my way through the crowd of smiling faces. Instant reunion with Jam Cruisers, NOLA to NY music lovers and friends old and new. It was my turn to come to their town. Love was everywhere, and the hugs and smiles were abundant, on stage and off. ~ NOLA Resident, Ananda Atmore

Porter was wearing yet another form of tie-dye shirt and Batiste was in another sports jersey, this time white.  The boys don’t stray too much from their signature styles.  Just like their first night, they started off with songs from The Meters catalog with favorites like “Here Come The Meter Man” and “Look-Ka Py Py.”

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The covers of the evening were Roger Miller‘s “Chug-A-Lug,” Professor Longhair‘s “Tipitinas” and “Big Chief.”  The encore gave us “Higher” and “Sing A Simple Song,” both  Sly and The Family Stone covers while “Them Changes” was a Buddy Miles tune made popular by Jimi Hendrix and Band of Gypsies. “Peace Pipe” has me a bit confused. A friend suggested it might be a Mardi Gras Indian song.

“Love Slip Up on Ya” is a song specific to The Funky Meters catalog and Brian Stoltz once again blasted us with his masterful guitar. “Ride Me Dunky,” also a Funky Meters tune, saw Porter giving us his deep bass lines.

Stepping off stage for only a few moments, the fellas came on stage to perform “Be My Lady.”  However, as amazing as they were alone, The Funky Meters show blasted out of  control when the Nigel Hall Band took the stage for the remainder of the three-part encore.  Nigel grabbed the microphone, Adam Deitch sat in on drums and Eric Krasno played a second guitar for Sly Stone’s “Sing A Simple Song” and “Higher.”

I heard the first few notes of a familiar song, and thought “could it be?”. Are they really going to play it? YES! It was “Be my Lady”! This is an old Meters song that I haven’t heard performed in several years now, and a long time favorite of mine. This was my golden musical moment, and hearing them perform this song made the whole trip worth it in one moment. ~ NOLA Resident Ananda Atmore

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The energy on stage was palpable. Watching Eric Krasno play across from Brian Stoltz was magnificent.  Two of my favorite guitarists having so much fun with each other on stage. Russell Batiste, Jr. banging on a cowbell, dancing all over the stage as he helped knock the energy up to another level. Art “Poppa Funk” Neville needed key changes shouted out a few times and then he left Nigel Hall to take over as he walked away for a breather and took the time to dance around to the music.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The Royal Family remained on the stage with the The Funky Meters to close out the show! And what a show this was.  The second night had been pure fire!! It was off to the third show of the night: DJ Nutritious‘s Bembe rage with Nigel Hall and Stephen Chopek.

Download Link To The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (02.16.11)

Set list – Night II
Here Comes The Meter Man >
Look-Ka Py Py >
Too Funky >
Bass intro Too >
Chug A Lug
Love Slip Up On Ya
Keep on Marching (Funky Soldier)
That Ain’t The Way to Carry On
Funkify Your Life
My Baby
Tipitina’
Hoo Chie Coo
Ride Me Dunky/Soul Island
Message From The Meters
People Say
Bass Intro too >
Big Chief>
Peace Pipe

Encore
Be My Lady
Sing A Simple Song*
Higher*
Them Changes*
Cissy Strut – tease*

*w/guest Nigel Hall, Eric Krasno & Adam Deitch

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The Funky Meters (02.17.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Special Guests:
Eric Krasno – Guitar
?uestlove – Drums
Nikie Glaspie – Drums

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Here we were, the third night of The Funky Meters.  The house was packed and this time, I was going to rage front row, right under George Porter, Jr.. I had taken myself from the front of the stage the previous nights to write on the elevated side of The Brooklyn Bowl because I knew I would dance away from my responsibility of writing if I was up front. Again, he is my religion after all.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

As I walked around the venue throughout the show, I ran into musicians like Nikie Glaspie who was utilizing a bowling with her friends.  Henry Butler was standing amongst the crowd with a huge smile on his face.  Joe Russo and Eric Krasno were watching from backstage while the owner himself, Pete Shapiro, positioned himself atop a speaker right on the side stage sucking the entire thing in with a beaming persona.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

It started off the same as the nights previous.  Batiste was wearing another green jersey, Porter was in yet another tie-die, Stoltz was in a button up with a few hipped out accessories. I forgot to mention his Kenny Rogers look he’s raging this tour.  He pulls it off nicely! The tapers were out in full force.  Sadly, even though I saw tapers each night, the third night was the only recording that could be found. Enjoy!

Download Link To The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (02.17.11)

The funky foursome brought the heat immediately after a funky, funky warm-up jam got the night started right.  Porter had his feet firmly planted into the ground as he put the bass in our face front row.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The night was full of amazing, jamming covers.  We got “Rainy Day Women” by Bob Dylan, “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton and “Love the One Your With” by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

There was a KILLER Rock-a-billy vibe during “Big Boss Man”, a Luther Dixon song made famous by Jimmy Reed.  They ran through “Simple Song” again, the Sly cover from the previous night.  The crowd was on fire, singing along to everything, filling in the lyrics when Art couldn’t remember them as they barely got through The Allman Brothers‘ “Midnight Rider” where Stoltz saved the day with a ripping guitar solo.

We had a few repeats with “Funkify Your Life”, “Hoochie Coo”, “Fiyo On The Bayo”, “Junko Partner” and “Cabbage Alley” among others. All audience favorites that we didn’t mind hearing over and over again.  “Aiko Aiko,” a James Crawford song made famous by the one and only Dr. John had the place erupting with dancing feet.


(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The entire night was so high energy and the event was capping off such a full week of funky New Orleans Love, it was just outstanding. Towards the end of the night, Eric Krasno, Nikie Glaspie and ?uestlove joined the stage for a percussion driven rage. Batiste, Glaspie and ?uestlove took turns beating the drums, the cowbell and just about anything else they could find to hit within their reach.  Krasno was back on guitar facing off across Stoltz.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The encore saw Krasno leave the stage and then jump back on as they weren’t done with him yet. The wicked funky “Keep on Stretching Your Rubber Band” and “Audubon Zoo”, originally titled “All Asked For You” and changed by their manager, closed the three night run.

The 3rd night didn’t disappoint either. The set list speaks for itself really. They played again Sing a Simple Song, which had me on the front row jumping and smiling even more enthusiastically than before. And the encore of Keep on Stretching your rubber band. Pure Funky Meters magic. ~ NOLA Resident Ananda Atmore

The Funk Meter was off the charts this last night.  Even though watching The Funky Meters is similar to watching Furthur, in the respect that they aren’t spring chickens anymore, they brought the FIYO to the Brooklyn Bowl the past three nights.

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

I watched as all the men got up, gathered in the center of the stage and bowed before us.  Porter walked to the front of the stage and I got a smile and handshake from him as he continued down the line of people in the front row shaking hands and thanking the audience for coming. I might never wash this hand.

Alison Murphy caught Porter shaking my hand! (Photo by Alison Murphy)

Allison Murphy caught Porter shaking my hand! (Photo by Alison Murphy)

The final part of this musical adventure placed me upstairs in the backstage area, shaking hands, hugging and taking pictures with George Porter Jr.  It was a trio of nights that I will NEVER forget. I hope you enjoy(ed) the shows!!

Setlist: Night III
Jam >
Funky Miracle >
Funkify Your Life >
Rainy Day Women >
9 to 5
Hey Pocky Way >Cissy Strutt >
Love the one you’re with >
Hoochie Coo
He Bite Me (the Dragon) >
Voodoo Child* >
Fiyo on the Bayou >
Big Boss Man >
Aiko Aiko ^ >
Junko Partner >Midnight Rider >
Simple Song #  >
Cabbage Alley >
Baby What you want me to do >
Hey Pocky Way

Encore
(Keep on Stretching) your Rubber Band
Audubon Zoo (All asked for you)
* w/ Billy Jean (Michael Jackson) tease
^ w/ She’ll be coming round the mountain
# w/ Krasno, ?uestlove, Nikki Galaspie
(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Me and my Religion :) GPJR!!  (Photo by Ananda)

Me and my religion 🙂 GPJR!! (Photo by Ananda)

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Idina Menzel’s New York Philharmonic Debut w/ Marvin Hamlish at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall

This article is dedicate to Kelli Dugan, my beautiful sister who constantly reminds me where our love for music is rooted.  For that, I am eternally grateful!

Music!  It amazes me.  No matter what kind, ultimately, one of the greatest things about music is its ability to draw people together.  My sister and I are like oil and water.  It works in some ways, in others, not so much! But one thing we have always connected through, although not always agreeing on, is music.

Growing up, my sister and I were raised around the symphonies, Broadway musicals and Disney On Ice events.  Our grandmother and mother got us season tickets to various Philharmonic groups and other classical performances.  Our father played jazz piano and surrounded us with the blues every night after dinner.  We grew a taste for finer music, smooth voices, song and dance.

Avery Fisher Hall

Avery Fisher Hall

I branched off, falling in love with the jam community after finding Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin while my sister stayed with the more mainstream pop music side of life.  But, where our passions never differed was with Broadway.  My sister is completely addicted to the Broadway world as I am with our community.  So, when I found out that Idina Menzel would be debuting with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center‘s Avery Fisher Hall, I immediately snagged tickets for her Christmas present.

Wicked's Elphba

Wicked's Elphba

For those of you not familiar with Idina Menzel, she is one of the greatest singing talents of our generation.  Raised in Queens and Long Island, her claim to fame was her Broadway debut as Maureen in the original cast of Rent where she was nominated for a Tony award.  She would later go on to win a Tony Award for her role as Elphaba, the green witch in Wicked.  The later became my sister’s favorite Broadway show immediately upon its release.  Sadly, we were never able to see the original cast of Wicked and thus another reason for the importance of this night!

Rent's Maureen

Rent's Maureen

Having never been to Avery Fisher Hall, I absolutely melted upon entering the building.  This wasn’t your average club venue or even a nice theater for that matter.  The grand Hall was simply stunning, dripping in rich textures and colors. There was an amazing layout of seats that allowed for everyone to have a clear view of the stage, twinkling lights bordered the many layers of seats around the audience and the acoustic set up was meticulous.

Avery Fisher Hall - Interior

Avery Fisher Hall - Interior

Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch

The New York Philharmonic had already taken their seats, waiting for their conductor.  When he finally came out, he was announced as Marvin Hamlisch and my sister jumped COMPLETELY out of her seat, leaning into me saying “How come you didn’t tell me Marvin Hamlisch was performing.  MARVIN HAMLISCH????   Seeing her reaction, I recognized that I should know this name.  Of all the classical music we had seen performed, I should have remembered this name.  Not only is he one of the world’s most famous conductors/pianists/songwriters, his contribution to music is never ending.   He is one of only two people to have been awarded Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and a Tony, a Pulitzer Prize, and two Golden Globes. I mean, COME ON!!!   Musical talent at its best!

Idina Menzel debuts the NY Philharmonic

Idina Menzel debuts the NY Philharmonic

When Idina Menzel was announced, she walked out in a gorgeous white gown with a black belt matching her velvet black hair, wearing no shoes and the biggest grin.  Being an empathetic person, I could only imagine how swelled her heart must have been walking out on that stage, knowing she would be performing with the greatest symphony on Earth in one of the most prestigious music halls in the greatest city on Earth.  And her actions proved just that.  In a setting where the pompous, uptight, yuppie vibe generally overtakes the artists, over the night she would giggle, joke, take her liberties and just connect on such a personal level with all of us.

Seeing her walk out on stage drew a tear to my eye. I knew the music tonight would be touching but I wasn’t exactly sure how much.  A night where I thought my sister would be crying her eyes out showed me just how much I enjoyed this music as the tears came freely numerous times throughout the performance and I could be found asking my sister for all her tissues.

Jumping immediately into song, Idina Menzel sang “The Life of the Party” from The Wild Party, setting the tone for the otherwise unusually relaxed night at the Philharmonic.

“I’m Not That Girl” was our first taste of Wicked and had my sister gasping for breath as Idina‘s smooth voice registered to the tops of the balconies.  Such a pure voice. Then, Idina‘s personality came to form as she picked up the microphone and bantered with the audience.   She began with a little anecdote:

“In college, I had this professor and I had the biggest crush on him.  One day, we were given an assignment to pick out a Cole Porter song and we were asked to perform it in the front of class later in the week.  I picked out what I thought was the sexiest Cole Porter song I could find.  I dressed in the sexiest thing I owned and came into class.  I began singing the song and immediately he stopped me. ‘What are you doing?’ he asked.  I told him I was singing the song.  ‘Do you have any idea what this song is about? he asked.  He proceeded to tell me how this was a women on the streets, she was cold, tired and hungry….and scared”

As she lowered her voice, almost whispering the word “scared,” she broke into Cole Porter‘s “Love For Sale,” one of the most beautiful Cole Porter songs ever written. It was sensual, painful and contained all the hurt and lust that this women from the street evoked.  Idina nailed the emotions perfectly. Her teacher had made his point.  And then, before she even began singing I could hear the mash-up coming.  She threw in some of the “Idina spirit” as I would come to call her little bursts of personality.  She mashed Cole Porter‘s song with Sting‘s “Roxanne.” Kelli and I both giggled.  Even the uptight grandmother next to me grunted out a little smirk.

Idina Menzel and Marvin Hamlisch

Idina Menzel and Marvin Hamlisch

One of the greatest thing of this performance was how low-key Idina made it feel.  She owned it, making it her own with her bare feet and her fun stories. This time she spoke fondly of Jonathon Larson, writer/composer of the musical Rent. How this wonderful man spent his last days creating what would become one of the Broadway‘s most famous and acclaimed musicals only to die the day before seeing his masterpiece come to life on stage.  She spoke of how this moment in time truly changed her outlook on life.  How every night, the cast performed to their highest abilities in honor of this wonderful man.  How she took the lesson of truly appreciating living in the moment and trying to preserve those moments in her heart once she had stepped away from them.  The tears had started flowing in the eyes of the woman surrounding me.  Tissues started making their way into the hands of men who appreciated the context of the story. 

I wrote out this entire article before looking for videos.  There was a strict no video or  picture rule and flashlights abounded around us as security descended upon any light they saw in the audience.  I am totally shocked that so many videos came up in my search.  After watching the videos again, I can’t help but transplant back into Avery Fisher Hall, soaking up the elegance, the purity and the energy of the swelled hearts around me.  During “No Day But Today” from Rent, Idina held out the microphone and allowed us to join in her triumph debut. It began as a soft A Capella and tears were streaming down the audiences face, especially mine.  Here is the video. It speaks for itself.


“Look To The Rainbow” followed from Finian’s Rainbow, a Broadway show I was unfamiliar with.  Then, probably the most interesting or perhaps just odd portion of the show, the singing of Lady Gaga‘s “Poker Face.” Oh, man am I sick of hearing this song being covered by every artist on Earth.  Now here we were, in the most elegant Hall in NYC with the world’s greatest Philharmonic performers, performing this ridiculous yet catchy song.

“Hey you guys, don’t you feel that you’ve arrived, playing this song?” she joked to the musicians on stage.

The reason for this choice song was simple.  Idina Menzel had recently made an appearance on GLEE, the hit show on FOX and “Poker Face” was the song she performed as the mother of Rachel played by Lea Michele.  The video is HILARIOUS as Idina stopped multiple times throughout the song to banter with the audience and Marvin directly.  She is EXTREMELY ADORABLE!!


Not sure why I knew this was coming but Idina‘s next anecdote focused on her greatest Idol and one of the other great voices of a slightly older generation, Barbra Streisand. Idina had been tapped to perform for a performance for Barbra Streisand and her nervousness was simply overwhelming. She practiced and practiced and finally, she performed terrified as she watched Barbra sitting across from her seated next to George Bush at the event.   Later, as they feasted at the event, Barbara approached Idina and asked “Did you sing for me tonight? I didn’t have on my glasses!”  As the audience laughs along with the musicians, Idina broke out her jazzy vocals to sing “Funny Girl” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” both songs made famous by Barbra Streisand.

Finally, closing out her gorgeous performance, she thanked us for being there, she thanked her parents, her staff, her loving husband, Tey Diggs, and her new son Walker, at which point she began to get emotional.  As well, those around me were again picking up their various tear sponges.  Possibly the most beautiful part of the performance, the lights dimmed and a single spot light beamed on Idina Menzel. The instruments were laid to rest and the microphone was turned OFF.  Idina filed our ears with a crystal clear, A Capella version of “For Good,” one of the most gorgeous and beautifully written messages in the musical Wicked.

There were a lot of sniffles during this entire event but nothing like this.  My sister had finally lost her composure and I had to hand her back the tissues that she had so lovingly offered me earlier in the show. Idina was singing directly to her in that moment and I was so happy to have my sister….my friend…with me in this moment.

Idina Menzel bowed to the multiple faces beaming back at her. She had filled our spirits with a songbird’s voice. We were so happy as she exited the stage.  Marvin and the Philharmonic stayed still as she finally came back to the thunderous applause for a three part encore.

The song that we had all been waiting for was to follow: “Defying Gravity,” the defining song as her role of Elphaba in Wicked. The video is not great as the taper was trying to hide from security but the music is what is important and that comes across fine!

After “Defying Gravity,” Marvin Hamlisch grabbed the microphone and proclaimed:

“So, you chose the songs of all your favorite names in music but you haven’t sung one of MY songs…just saying.”

So, Idina took her seat on the stool provided for her as Marvin left his podium to take his place at the instrument that made him a legend…the grand piano. His first few taps of the ivories released the song immediately.  Before Idina even sang the first few words I heard gasps of recognition around me. She was singing “What I Did For Love,” the Marvin Hamlisch‘s Tony award winning song from A Chorus Line. It was just Idina, Marvin and a piano.

Finally, dedicating the last song to her mother, her road nanny and biggest fan, she sang Annie‘s “Tomorrow.” A musical that her mother refused to let Idina try out for so that she could “be a real little kid.”  It was so beautiful.  There is really something about purity of voice and emotions felt in the music that instruments can’t touch.

https://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41TUgArKtyL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Idina never choose a song from her cd, I Stand, and I wondered why? Not that I was complaining, but it almost felt expected being that it was newly released. However, in a room filled with Gleeks, Broadway junkies, wanna-be singers, Opera lovers, and Philharmonic followers, Idina Menzel offered up something for everyone. And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when she finished!

Set list:
“The Life of the Party” from The Wild Party
“I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked
“Love For Sale” from The New Yorkers / “Roxanne” by Sting
“No Day But Today” from Rent
“Look To The Rainbow” from Finian’s Rainbow
“Poker Face” as performed on Glee
“Funny Girl” from Funny Girl
“Don’t Rain On My Parade” from Funny Girl
“For Good” from Wicked
“Defying Gravity” from Wicked
“What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line
“Tomorrow” from Annie

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