|Liza Minnelli. Image reproduced under|
Creative Comons Licence
(Royal Albert Hall, 29th June 2011, part of Bluesfest London. Review by Kai Hoffman)
With a professional career spanning nearly 50 years, Liza Minnelli still has more charisma in her little finger than nearly all of the manufactured pop stars of today. The Royal Albert Hall was jam-packed – and the audience so enthusiastic, I gave up counting the standing ovations.
Instantly assuming the individual character of each song, Liza’s vast stage presence was absolutely magnetic. Chatting with the audience as though she had knew all of us personally, Liza chose songs spanning the length of her career, from Ebb and Kander tunes like ‘Liza with a Z’ and ‘My Own Best Friend’ (from Chicago), to Charles Aznavour’s ‘What Makes a Man a Man’ and Peggy Lee’s ‘He’s a Tramp.’ I have to admit, seeing THE Liza Minnelli perform her Cabaret showstoppers was a (personal) dream come true – and she was utterly in her element with Maybe This Time and Cabaret.
Admitting that ‘But the World Goes ‘Round’ was her favourite song of all time, Liza was half-way through,
coming up to a climax when, to everyone’s surprise, she stopped, saying she wanted to do it better for everybody, and – to a huge standing ovation – belted it out with twice the power of moments before.
With anecdotes ranging from the very personal – confessing that, battling with shyness as a child, she had collected song lyrics and expressed herself indirectly through them – to the star-studded – how Frank Sinatra had rung her up to ask if he could sing her tune ‘New York, New York’– she created an incomparable rapport with the audience.
Having battled with numerous health issues and addictions, it wouldn’t be fair to expect her to be the same as she was forty years ago. However, you come along to see the legend – and with her unmatchable energy, commanding – and endearing – presence, it was a night which will not be forgotten!
Bluesfest London website