A concert review typically starts with the beginning of the show and ends when the lights come up at the end of it. In the case of Diana Krall’s show I was first impressed with the generous and respectful nature of her photo release. It’s the most considerate release I’ve ever seen. The bookend to this experience was her representative emailing me the set list shortly after the show ended. Unbelievable.
Diana brought her very classy act to the Grand Sierra Resorts brand new Grand Theatre this past Saturday to the delight of all in attendance in support of her new album, Wallflower. She was welcomed to the stage with a huge round of applause and greeted her fans with, “How ya’ doin’?”
The stage had a ‘vintage’ look to it featuring several period radios set around the stage (probably mock ups, I couldn’t tell). Several hanging light fixtures appeared to be representations of Continental hanging ring mics dating back to the 1920’s. The backdrop featured a large screen used for images to be projected onto that was framed with an antique curtain giving the stage a vaudeville feel.
Diana Krall has a voice like course silk…
Diana Krall has a voice like course silk – breathy and seductive at the same time. Even when she whispers a lyric it fills the room and demands your attention. Her piano style can be as light as a feather of strong and rhythmic, depending on what the particular song requires. When it comes to jazz the subtle skills required to pull it off can go relatively unnoticed by the casual listener, but the right crowd gets it, and Diana had a very attentive and receptive crowd at this show.
The emotional connection and deep commitment with what she plays can be seen in her face and in her body english as she worked her way through the set list. We’ve all heard of guitar face, right? Diana has her own version, and she makes it look good. She started her show with We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye, a sort of slow ragtime number written by Harry Woods off of here Glad Rag Doll album. Violinist Stuart Duncan had a short but sweet solo in this song. That was followed up quickly with There Ain t No Sweet Man That s Worth The Salt Of My Tears (Fred Fisher). Guitarist Anthony Wilson had the first of several great solos in this one.
The set was filled with standards as well as contemporary songs. Most of my personal highlights, which seemed to be favorites of the whole crowd were all off of her current release, Wallfower. She slid gently into a beautiful version of John Phillips (Mama’s and Papa’s ) California Dreamin’. It started off very slowly and softly with voice, gentle piano riffs and organ followed by fiddle which led into a samba feel.
Further into her set she played a wonderful version of Desperado by The Eagles, but she said her version was more Linda Ronstadt. It started with a piano solo that only hinted at the true tune for a while before it became apparent what she was playing. Gradually the rest of the band snuck in.This too is on Wallflower.
The showpiece of the night was Temptation…
The showpiece of the night was Temptation, a song composed by Tom Waits and her husband Elvis Costello. Besides having a crawling funky rhythm to it, it had great solos by guitarist Anthony Wilson and violinist Stuart Duncan. When the applause quieted down after Stuarts solo Dennis Crouch’s bass solo was able to be heard. Again with the applause, and out of that came Karriem Riggins’ drum solo. The audience clapped along when they could. And what would it be without a smoldering latinesque solo by Diana to close it out (with a little help from Patrick Warren on organ). This was a seventeen minute outpouring of genius.
Upon her return to the stage after the obligatory exit she played the title rack, Wallflower by Bob Dylan, from her newest album. This is a sweet little lullaby that featured an emotionally infused violin solo by Stuart Duncan. She finished the evening by another Tom Waits composition, The Heart of Saturday Night.
It was an easy going evening of wonderful music by an amazingly talented sextet. To quote Frank Zappa, ” Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny.”
…and the beat goes on.
To see the high resolution photo gallery, click here
Diana Krall – Piano/Vocals
Anthony Wilson – Guitar
Karriem Riggins – Drums
Dennis Crouch – Bass
Stuart Duncan – Fiddle, Guitar, etc…
Patrick Warren – Keyboards
We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye
There Ain’t No Sweet Man That s Worth The Salt Of My Tears
Just Like A Butterfly
Sunny Side Of The Street
You Call It Madness
East of The Sun
Let It Rain
Exactly Like You
Just You Just Me
Deed I Doo
Heart of Saturday Night
Nick McCabe – Front Row Photo