Live Review: Diana Krall – 4th February 2015 – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
With 2003’s Glad Rag Doll still shining brightly on Jazz charts around the world, globally celebrated songbird Diana Krall is busy setting arenas alight down under with the highly anticipated tour to promote her latest studio release. As we witnessed last night, anyone heading along to catch the singer at one of the 3 performances this week within Sydney’s live music venue centerpiece, the world-famous Sydney Opera House, is in for a treat.
As a first timer to the Sydney Opera House I was incredibly excited about the idea that my first show within the iconic confines of one of the world’s premier music and arts venues was to be a performer of such a high calibre and one whose music lends so well to the acoustics of such a renowned performance space. I had heard that shows were amazing at the Opera House and I was eager to see and hear it for myself.
I have to admit that prior to hearing Diana’s latest studio release last year I wasn’t all too familiar with her work. I know, I am a little ashamed to admit such a thing but with the countless records released every year, there is a lot to keep up with, especially when a genre is not entirely compatible with your usual preferences of pop and rock hits. I did, however, get to spend a lot of time bringing myself up to speed in the weeks leading up to last night’s show, garnishing my iPod with Krall recordings and gaining a more thorough appreciation and knowledge of a great within the Jazz world.
With a start time of 8pm, Krall and co were right on the mark, emerging from the side of the stage with not a hint of tardiness. Dressed in a form fitting black lace dress that paired nicely with her Steinway & Sons grand piano, Krall opened her set with Love Being Here With You and Do It Again, the latter showcasing the singers gorgeous breathy tones.
Love Letters, a song covered by many artists in the past including Alison Moyet, Elvis Presley and Nat King Cole, appeared in the latter half of the set list and was unveiled with instrumental precision as she placed her pristine vocals around the enchanting strings of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Within the singers delivery of Man Need A Maid, Krall slipped in a couple of chorus’ of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold following some anecdotes from her recent tour with the music veteran but one of the most memorable of moments during last night’s performance came with I’ve Grown Accustomed To His Face. Wearing her heart firmly on her sleeve, Krall dedicated the sweet love note to her husband, fellow acclaimed musician Elvis Costello.
While many of the numbers offered were either freshly picked from Krall’s latest studio offering, covers of tracks from more recent decades also crept into the evenings set to add a touch of versatility and familiarity including a fantastic encore of the Burt Bacharach hit, The Look Of Love.
Though the small talk that came from the songbird was at times often fragmented and clearly unrehearsed, it did add a vulnerable quality and charm to the performer who usually resigns to letting her singing and flawless piano finger work do the talking for her.
Krall certainly came well-oiled as she made her way vigorously around her instrument; her fingers moving so swiftly it was hard to keep up while her backing band which consisted of Anthony Wilson on guitar, Karriem Riggins on drums and Paul Keller on bass, played impeccably around the Jazz superstar throughout the duration of the 90 minute set.
This weeks performances by Krall and co at the Sydney Opera House will please most music lovers, particularly those with a love of Jazz and while Jazz as a genre is an acquired taste, last nights performance was catered to just about anyone with a palate for well crafted classics rich with vocal perfection and instrumental finesse.
While the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, which was led by her good friend Alan Broadbent, provided a stunning musical backdrop for the singer, the singer didn’t overuse the opportunities available to her as most would. Instead, Krall relied mostly on her 3-piece backing band to deliver her songs, giving the night a much more casual and complimenting Jazz drenching – perfect for the Jazz aficionados that packed the venue from top to bottom.
Diana Krall continues her Australian tour with the following remaining dates: Sydney Opera House Feb 5, 6; Adelaide Festival Theatre, Feb 8; Melbourne Hamer Hall Feb 10, 11, 12; Leewin Estate, Margaret River WA Feb 15, 16.