BWW Reviews: Liza Lights Up San Francisco
Liza Minnelli admits she was not the most well-spoken person in her younger days. "The songs [I sang] said what I couldn't say," she said during her concert, "An Evening with Liza Minnelli," on December 5 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.
Backed by a sextet that included her long-time piano accompanist Billy Stritch, Minnelli treated San Francisco to an early Christmas present with an action-packed 90 minute show featuring American standards and tracks from her recently released album "Confessions."
Although Minnelli shared memories of her musical life, the songs ultimately told the stories. With classics including "My Own Best Friend" from Chicago, "Our Love is Here to Stay," and "He's a Tramp," the lineup ran the gamut of her famed career, and lauded her legendary family and friends like Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, and John Kander and Fred Ebb. The audience leapt to its feet multiple times during and after show-stopping renditions of "Cabaret" and "New York, New York."
"Confessions" developed while Minnelli was recuperating from a knee replacement surgery, and Stritch suggested creating an album that captured the intimate feel of singing at home with loved ones. It includes "I Hadn't Anyone Till You," the song Minnelli thought of when she met Stritch, who also lent his voice to the concert with his swingin' solo "No Moon At All."
Keeping with the intimacy of the evening, Minnelli closed the show by inviting a little girl from the audience onstage. Sitting on Minnelli's lap, the girl, who was dressed in a Cabaret-inspired flapper outfit, had the best seat in the house while one of America's most legendary performers sang "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," the song her mother Judy Garland sang in Meet Me in St. Louis, which her father Vincente Minnelli directed. With a classic near to her heart and appropriate to the season, Liza Minnelli did what she does best - wished San Francisco happy holidays, letting the song speak for itself.