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an evening at carnegie hall

kirk and i had tickets to the new york pops 23rd annual gala last night. there was a playbill discount email, and liza minnelli was performing and elaine stritch was hosting, and so i walked up to the box office the next day and got a pair of inexpensive tickets.

glad we did. it was sold out and people were begging for tickets. as well they should have been–it was a great show.

marvin hamlisch was the guest conductor–he did a credible job, and was generally genial, witty, and entertaining. i wonder if he’s auditioning for the job now that skitch henderson is dead. i’m not in the loop on that one–he may already have the job.

anyway, elaine strich was her strich-y best. she sang two numbers, the second of which was the best performance of the evening. i don’t know the name of the song–perhaps kirk will be kind enough to post a comment (hint hint)–but she can deliver a lyric with better phrasing to convey emotion than anyone else alive, for my money.

liza sang “i love a piano”, as the theme was piano stuff what with the evening being a tribute to skitch henderson who was a real piano guy. she wasn’t in the best voice but with liza it really doesn’t matter, as she too can deliver with style that overcomes it.

i also liked bob lappin, who leads the palm beach pops. he led the new york pops orchestra in some well-chosen numbers and really made them sound good. when i retire to palm beach, i may have to buy a ticket.

the gala honoree was ahmet ertegun of atlantic records, so we got to hear two of his recording artists perform with the pops, which was a real treat in both cases. the first was a young scottish guy named paolo nutini–i’m going to have to buy a song or two on itunes. he had a very expressive voice–the crowd really loved him. and the other was kid rock, of all people.

now you’d think that kid rock at the pops would be oil and water, and he self-disparagingly said as much at the beginning of his performance, but he was fantastic. he sang one of his songs, and then sang “rock and roll” by led zeppelin.

and he was the only performer to get a curtain call. how about that.

now i have to gripe a bit. evidently the pops has some kind of program to give tickets to kids who sit in the balcony, and it exposes them to art and all. and the balcony above us was full of kids.

and they were perfectly behaved. they were quiet as church mice when the concert pianist played and when the pops played their pop, and they were appropriately energetic when, say, darlene love sang “da do ron ron”. good to see it.

so what am i griping about?

well, the old biddies in front of me, who, quite the opposite of the kids, sat like stone through kid rock, and paolo nutini, and darlene love and all, but couldn’t keep their fat mouths shut during, for example, the cole porter medley. in loud voices, they discussed whether or not they had seen “de-lovely” and whether or not they liked it, until i nicely asked them to stfu.

kirk thinks that’s true in general, and i’m inclined to agree with him. i think old people tend to be more clueless about appropriate public behavior than young people. you can disagree, but i don’t care.

when kirk and i get our finances more in order, we’re going to get season tickets to the pops or something similar.

we had a great time.

update: paolo nutini’s site has free downloads of his music, but they are pc only. bad form, paolo nutini.