Thursday, August 9, 2012

Love, Liza (Music Review: Liza Minnelli Live At The Winter Garden)

There's no better Liza than live Liza, I always say.  I have seen Liza a couple of times and there is no one better - she has that "star quality" that people talk about. It's indescribable, really, she just has that "it." When she is on stage, she is magnetic, and even in a small stage you will follow her. Lately, her voice hasn't been what it used to be (whose has, anyway) but despite that, she still commands the stage like no other. But...thank God for recordings. "Liza Minnelli Live At The Winter Garden" finds her in her vocal peak. The year was 1974, and she had just won the Oscar for "Cabaret," and the Emmy for "Liza With A Z."  She is back on Broadway, on a sold-out run at The Winter Garden. However, shortly after this LP was released, it had to be pulled off the shelves because of contractual differences from the "Cabaret" songs. It has not seen the light of day since a remastered Disc was put out last year, and rejoice rejoice, this recording is a keeper. Hear her open her act with the (then popular) "If You Could Read My Mind," mixed in with "Come Back To Me." Then she segues to a slowed down "Shine On Silver Moon." We experience what a great singing actress she is with "And I In My Chair," a story song about love lost. And no one else can sing "A Quiet Thing" like she does, having introduced the song on Broadway. A friend of mine once told me that the only version of "More Than You Know" he can listen to is Liza's version from this set, and I do agree with him that this is a special rendition. There's really no throwaway song in here for me. I always like to listen to this record from beginning to end, as it gives you a sense of "being there," and as a live recording, you know it is a successful one if that experience can be captured. I have one complain with this reissue, though: I wish they had used the old album cover, for it was beautiful and dramatic. 

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