New Zealand was treated to a rare event; not one, not two, but three performances by chanteuses of jazz and blues on Saturday, as Diana Krall came to Auckland for the Villa Maria Estate's 'A day at the Green'.
Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux and Diana Krall
Where: Villa Maria Estate,
When: Saturday, February 20
An elegant Melody Gardot was first on stage at 6pm and welcomed us to the Litilth Fare of Jazz. Her sultry rendition of Baby I'm a Fool for Love had the audience practically swooning in their seats. The next song was If the Stars were all Mine had them truly captured. Her backing band all played accomplished pieces but the biggest cheer was for the guy who played two saxophones at the same time!
Gardot still carries some of the effects of her cycle/car crash in 2003. The legacy of this is that she was left hyper-sensitive to light and sound and thus wears sunglasses all the time, not out of place at the Villa Maria grounds as the evening sun set slowly over our shoulders. She still relies on a cane and when it fell over on stage, there was a cheer for the stage hand who gallantly came to her rescue and retrieved it from the floor.
All too soon her set was over and around me it was said that she was not on stage nearly long enough.
Madeleine Peyroux arrived on stage at 7pm sharp. Her set was relaxed but slick, and included several of her well known songs, Her opening song Don't Wait Too Long from her Careless Love CD was followed by Bare Bones then I Must be Saved both from her Bare Bones CD.
As is the nature of Jazz and Blues the music can wander off into pure instrumental pieces ...much to the crowds delight! Her rendition of Leon Cohen's song Dance Me to the End of Love was appreciatively applauded, as was her final piece was Instead again from Bare Bones CD.
There was a 30 minute wait for the main billing Diana Krall to come on stage. Not a problem in the balmy Feb evening, as The Villa Maria Estate venue was the perfect place to be, all smart and relaxed and extremely organized. They have worked out the best places to site all the usual wine, food stalls and the amenities and is now a very polished venue.
All the vines were covered in net, sort of sad, but we did notice security were quick to question anyone getting too close to the netting than was respectable.
Darkness brought Krall on stage to the Steinway piano at center stage. Her opening song, I Love Being Here with You, was very apt as we were all glad to see her as well.
Lets Fall in Love was a hit with the audience. Tom Jones arrived early into her set and Krall acknowledged his arrival.
The Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra ably conducted by Alan Broadbent accompanied the superstar and her band.
Krall's polished repartee with the audience threatened to get out of control with the loud (tipsy, perhaps) idiot sitting behind me, started yelling out to her that she was great. That and insisting on giving us all a monologue of how totally marvelous she was through out the evening, seriously made me wonder if I would get arrested for clouting him with my bottle of Pinot Gris!
Krall's selection of tunes covered several of her well known songs Quiet nights, Love Letters along with the Nat King Cole's Lets Face the Music and Dance but it was the Joni Mitchell cover A Case of You brought audible purrs of pleasure from the audience. They also were appreciative to the solo moments from the band's keyboard, bass and drums solo pieces. But the best applause was for Diana herself as she tinkled the ivories through out the evening.
As the evening progressed the rapture with audience continued... all too soon the show was over. If tickets for her next one were put on sale at the end of the show they would have sold out.