Saturday, July 20, 2013
Harry Connick, Jr. at Meijer Gardens - 7/17/13
In 90 degree weather, we waited in great anticipation for the concert to begin. Expecting an opening act, we were all pleasantly surprised when Harry walked out on stage, backed by a large band that included a string section.
Coming from New Orleans, he's used to hot weather. But he still made comments about what he had been experiencing in Michigan and said if he was us, he'd be at home watching ESPN. He also joked about being in Traverse City and not being able to find any cherries, even outside the city.
So the man is a very talented, versatile musician who also has a great sense of humor. And not only does he play piano, trumpet, & percussion, the man can also dance.
He did a bit of clowning with his band, particularly trombonist, Lucien Barbarin, whose birthday it happened to be. Later Harry passed out birthday cake to a few audience members.
And the very diverse music - wonderfully performed with spot-on precision. Standards, bossa nova, jazz, and more, including two jazzy, soulful versions of the Gospel numbers, "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Just A Closer Walk with Thee." This was a very professional performance and Harry is an incredible showman.
After a rousing version of "When the Saints Go marching In," it felt like the end or an intermission, but this band went right on playing, over two hours total and more than 20 songs. By 8:15, the sun went behind low lying clouds and we had some heat relief.
Later in the performance Harry shared that he had taken a nap this afternoon and didn't wake up until 6:45pm, 15 minutes before the concert was to begin (which explained the slight delay :) He also said he wanted a one bedroom house here, right under the horse (The huge American Horse at the gardens for you who aren't familiar with Meijer Gardens). Another time, he told a band member to "Go sit under the horse. You're in a time-out."
And one last Harry joke. He spotted a woman near the stage who was knitting. After teasing her about knitting during this hot weather he zings her with: "Thank you for splitting your time between knitting a sweater vest and watching the show." The man's a genius.
Besides the standards performed that everyone knew and loved ("On a Clear Day, Just the Way You look Tonight...), he also sang "One Fine Thing" from his newest cd, and it was fine indeed (although I did think he was singing "one fine dame" :-) Don't miss him if he's back next year, and be aware that you have less than 15 minutes to buy tickets when ticket sales open to members. That's how fast they were gone. Catch him if you can!