BWW Review: The Fabulous LINDA EDER Returns to Feinstein's/54 Below
The seasons of Broadway change and bring us new types of shows each year that spring up and disappear faster than a tulip blooms. However, some things remain the same. Constants in life are rare, and one of those constants is Linda Eder. With regular album releases, a warm demeanor, and some modern woman panache, often in the form of a song (including a couple from Jekyll and Hyde), Eder is the "I can have cake and eat it too" of the cabaret world. A lot of talented people grace the stage of 54 Below. Few do it for multiple nights. Even fewer singers attempt to blend a tight belt with an operatic trill. Eder's ability to do both as easily as she breathes makes for one heck of a thrill.
I could highlight any two or three songs, and they would have been a pair of the cleanest, most tightly rehearsed pieces one could see. But the way Eder takes the show above and beyond that are what make her a special performer. Eder's songs aren't the only thing that's great. Her shows are great. She doesn't give you her best all at once or in the same way twice. After a series of beautiful opening tunes, she changed the atmosphere quickly into an intimate night out with a stirring performance of "Bring Him Home." Her deep and powerful melody on, "God on high, hear my prayer/in my need you have always been there," wrenched at one's heart, and her voice found new depths with each note. Impossibly, it felt, the next song was almost better as she sang, "As if we never said goodbye," in a way that everyone imagines they might sing it. It's just that Eder actually does it. She sounds cleaner than a recording even after she's belted five or six songs and done a Freddie Mercury number.
Speaking of her Freddie tribute, the trio of Queen songs were a welcome dalliance with Rock and Roll. For a moment Eder morphed from Broadway starlet to Queen cover band front woman, and the crowd loved it. Mercury's music can be touching, soaring, and overwhelmingly sentimental. Songs that one might not have associated with a singer more iconicly known for "We Are the Champions" or "Don't Stop me Now." Thank you to the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody, for introducing Eder to her new favorite song, "Love of My Life." There will be few moments in theater more powerful than closing one's eyes and hearing Eder strike the notes of "Love of my life, can't you see? Bring it back, bring it back, don't take it away from me, because you don't know, what it means to me."
The last song that I'd like to highlight is from a guest performance on her bassist, David Finck's, CD. He's a talented artist and their collaboration on "The Summer Knows" was one of the early front runners for my favorite song of the evening particularly for her simple brilliance on the lines, "so she take her summer time, tells to the moon to wait and the sun to linger/twists the world around her summer finger/let's you see the wonder." It felt like her show soon proved to be, a magical tour through the possibilities of voice beneath the moonlight of Manhattan. Fret not, Eder's back at Broadway's living room, this summer in early June to perform the same or a similar show.