Harry Connick, Jr.
Harry Connick, Jr.
September 4, 2004 @ The Tanglewood Jazz Festival
a reminiscent introduction by Festival founder and local Jazz legend Fred
Taylor, Mr. Connick the Younger prepared to finish up his "Only You" tour
with one last party. Unfortunately, it took some time to get it going.
After an extended period of one-fingered fiddling with his piano, Harry
led his trio and then the large and looming orchestra into a booming
rendition of "People Will Say We're in Love." When the vocals finally
revealed where Harry had been heading all this time, they were cracked and
road-worn, especially when he tried to emphasize or get the crowd going
with random lyric shouts. Ironically, he would later reveal his "pre-show
ritual" in which he and trombonist Lucien Barbarin each eat Hall's cough
drops in an effort to stave off the tortures of touring. Though "Way Down
Yonder in New Orleans" was a bit rushed (especially considering its source
material) and "Smile" a bit crooked and cracked, Harry was eventually able
to settle into a gentler, firmer groove. Among the resultant high points
were a colorful trio rendition of "All of Me," an appropriately dirgy
stroll through "St. James Infirmary," and an even more lamenting Gospel
sway through "Old Rugged Cross." The show stealer, however, was when Mr.
Connick, Sr. surprised his son with a chorus of "Up a Lazy River." The
resultant ovation caught even "June" (as in "Junior") off guard, but he
relished in the opportunity to thank his father for all they had done
together while actually doing more of it. Catching his breath in a
plodding "For Once in My Life," Connick wound up the night by asking his
adoring fans to "Save the Last Dance for Me" before swinging them out into
the cool, clear Berkshire night with a New Orleans romp on "Come by Me."
Though uneven and at times meandering, Connick did not fail to please the
Festival crowd. And, to hear Taylor tell it, he has come a long way
- Matthew S. Robinson
© 1998 M. S. Robinson, ARR