Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Norah Jones @ Prospect Park

Norah Jones
@ Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY - June 9, 2010

In June 2003, I saw Norah Jones for the first time in a soaking Philadelphia rain. Now, almost 7 years to the day, I see her in full concert for only the second time...and again in a steady, soaking rain. In between these gigs, Norah has done herself pretty well - becoming a music world heavy after her stunning debut record, settling into a popular but not overwhelming rhythm through a few more solo records, some major collaboration (including with some old schmo named Ray Charles), and a couple of side projects dabbling in country and some silly grungey punk-rock for the rock club crowd. Her last major solo record, last year's The Fall, was promised as a "Tom Waits"-y turn from her usual major sellers. Assuming that meant a more sinister hobo-ish facade to her Jazzy blues and country, Norah didn't deliver. But she did make a more modern sounding (and more guitar-based) record while retaining her delicate, sometimes almost too-good-to-be-true sense of what the music is all about.

Polka-dotted and flowered-haired, Norah fittingly kicked off Celebrate Brooklyn's 32nd season at the Band Shell in Prospect Park as a fairly new Brooklyn resident (she can stay, most of these chatty, "look I'm so funny I need to shout something out that I think is witty" yipsters can go, just leave the money). She showed some of that Brooklyn grit by playing most of The Fall (including "Back to Manhattan" which sounded beautiful despite ill-fitting). She ignored Come Away With Me till the very end, playing a sparse version of the Big One, "Don't Know Why", before concluding the set with "Lonestar" and the encore with the first LP title track. "Sunrise", "What Am I To You" and "Creep On In" were trotted out from Feels Like Home, and Not Too Late, a semi letdown that was also too quickly forsaken, wasn't entirely forgotten when Norah played the underrated "Sinkin Soon" which is way more Tom Waits-y than anything on The Fall.

Never content to just do her own work, even after three albums of almost all originals, Norah had her still newly revamped play some Cash ("Cry, Cry, Cry" for the Sun Records lovers) and Neil Young. She spent a lot of time on electric guitar but still looked to old country and the standards for inspiration. Norah is taking little pokes in progress as time goes on but she is still, and always will be, the gem of her generation, the great communicator of a variety of sounds, speaking to the music world on a plain and simple level. Like a Brooklyn girl should.

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At June 16, 2010 at 11:08:00 PM EDT, Blogger Monica A. Becker said...

nice post, I like norah jones too. ^^


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