Sunday, September 28, 2008

Diana Krall Live In Singapore

Who: Diana Krall
What: Greatest Hits World Tour 2008
When: 26 September 2008, 7:45pm
Where: Fort Canning Park

1. I Love Being Here With You
2. Let's Fall In Love
3. The Look Of Love
4. 'Deed I Do
5. Exactly Like You
6. You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)
7. Let's Face The Music And Dance
8. Devil May Care
9. A Case Of You
10. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)
11. Temptation
12. I Don't Know Enough About You
Encore: 'S Wonderful

Diana Krall swung by for her third concert in Singapore, and there was no way I was going to miss it this time. I booked my tickets early - in January in fact, when I saw an ad for the concert.

It was for a special Valentine's Day dinner package that entitled me to a $100 discount off each ticket, as well as a meet and greet session with Diana Krall plus autographed CDs. It seemed too good to be true, and I jumped on the offer, buying a total of 6 tickets for the top priced seats ($250 - $100 = $150).

I shall save you from the backstory, which was a really traumatising experience, ranging from receiving the tickets only 4 days before the concert (yes, that's 8 months after I paid $906), discovering that the people who liaised in Jan with me had left the company in the preceeding months and left almost no records on their end about my package, to the dramatic change in venue of the concert, one week before showday.

I shall instead focus on the concert itself, which not taking into account the backstory, was pretty enjoyable in itself. It could have been so much worse, but I didn't pay so much money to not enjoy a Diana Krall concert, so I made a conscious effort to enjoy it, and I did.

While Fort Canning Park is not the most obvious venue for a jazz concert, I think it made a better venue than the original Keppel Bay, which according to my boss, is nothing more than a open-air carpark with no proper stage as well. At least Fort Canning Park was sloped, so there was some elevation and we could see the stage quite clearly instead of being blocked by the person in front.

The bad thing about Fort Canning was that it was not air-conditioned, so it was a little warm and not as comfortable. It didn't really bother me that much, but it would have been nice to have some air-con. I was just glad that it didn't rain!

The second thing was that the organisers didn't expect the roar of the F1 engines to travel all the way to the hilltop, but it did, and it was very audible to us and to Diana Krall. When she came onstage at 8:20pm, she joked that the opening act was the F1 team. It was clear that she was a little irritated by the sound of the engines on more than one occasion.

She took the stage with 3 other musicians - longtime guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassist Robert Hearst and drummer Corrin Reagans (not sure about the spelling of their names!). It was a minimal set-up, but the players were individually skilled and played well as a band so you didn't feel like they were lacking much in the sound department.

The lighting for the cameras wasn't very good, such that when Diana's image was projected on the screen, it wasn't flattering at all. She looked puffy and looked like she was on drugs or something. It also appeared that she didn't have any makeup on. It was a little disconcerting at first, but after a while, we got used to her zoned out look.

Looks aside, she was on good form musically. Her voice took a while to warm up because she had a cold, despite the weather being so warm the past few days. She also coughed a few times during the songs. But other than that, she sounded good.

The 4-piece band were tight and all of them played well. In the true sprit of jazz, they all served up improvised solos and meandered through the scales and notes before coming back together in unison. The drummer was on a roll and seemed a little carried away with his solos. But I'm not complaining of course, as he demonstrated great skill with his traditional grip and bass drum technique.

Diana seemed to be in a good mood, chatting a fair bit and joking with the audience, which was great. It was also evident that she's happily married and enjoying family life. She opened up her locket around her neck and showed us pictures of her 21-month old twin boys Dexter and Frank. She said that they were with daddy Elvis Costello right now and they were busy recording their debut album.

She also spoke of how she had to alter her musical style and "un-jazz" the nursery songs when performing for her boys, because all they wanted were simple musical arrangements of their songs, without the flowery embellishments. Luckily she didn't strip down the songs last night.

Throughout the night, she also shared with us some of her influences. She revealed that Nat King Cole is her favourite singer-pianist performer, before playing his song You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love). She also said that Tom Waits is one of her favourite singers as well, and paid him a tribute by performing Temptation.

Setlist wise, it was a very safe choice as it was full of favourites. Of the 13 songs, 9 of them were from the Live In Paris (her 2002 CD/DVD release) setlist as well. Which is really great for me because I absolutely love that album. Seems like she likes this setlist as well.

My favourite song of the evening was A Case Of You, which was originally recorded by Joni Mitchell. It was performed solo with piano accompaniment only, and it was just so beautifully played and sung.

The F1 engines stopped about 4 songs into the night, but they came on again during her last song before the encore. I wonder if she decided to call it a night prematurely because of the re-emergence of the noise, or whether it was part of the plan. But she came onstage again for an encore performance of 'S Wonderful.

All in all, it was an enjoyable performance. The sound system was better than expected, at least it didn't sucked. But the F1 noise was really distracting for her and for the audience as well. The Esplanade would have been the perfect venue for the concert. Let's hope she wasn't too pissed to return for another show next time.

After the concert, we got our meet and greet session with her. It was very badly organised and it took place on the grass outside her tentage, where it was quite dark. There were other groups as well, so we met her in batches and didn't have much time to chat with her. I got her to sign my Live In Paris album booklet, and we snapped a group picture hastily.

We were quickly ushered out of the area, but the brief meeting was good enough for me. Another concert to strike off my "must watch before I die" list. Only one more remaining: Janet.

I could drink a case of you darling..and still be on my feet, still be on my feet...


At 8:14 pm, Anonymous Coda said...

Enjoyed your post! It's been linked to the Diana Krall Fans Web site!

At 11:56 pm, Blogger Son of a Gan said...

Hey Coda, thanks! I just signed up with the site and saw my post there haha. Never knew there was such a fan site. Fantastic!

Where are you from? Have you been to Singapore?


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