Sunday, December 03, 2006

Anne Murray (The SOB Overview) - Historic Brady Theater, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Anne Murray (The SOB Overview) – Historic Brady Theater, Tulsa, Oklahoma

A review of an Anne Murray concert? I must be kidding, right? After all, this is a site devoted to live theatre, isn’t it?!

Well, even this SOB has a sweet, sensitive and sentimental side (and I’ve posted more about how I ended up in Tulsa on a December Saturday evening in the first place). And I do have a soft-spot for this gifted singer.

Since the Canadian songstress was indeed performing live on a theatre stage, I’m not going to refrain from writing about her concert. But since admittedly, I’m no music critic -- and some would argue that I’m really no theatre critic, either -- I’ll refrain from calling this an all-out review. In fact, for all similar stories I post in the future, I’ll merely call them my SOB Overviews.

Suffice to say that Springhill, Nova Scotia’s favorite daughter remains a crowd-pleasing entertainer for all ages, playing particularly well in what is all too often derisively called “flyover country.” But she does strike a chord, and she also taps a nerve here and there in a surprisingly profound way.

Whether she’s dishing out hit after hit (and they’re pretty considerable) or dishing up funny fan e-mails or simply dishing on her host city and its audience, she delivers a sweetly satisfying live performance for anyone who relishes her 35+ years of hit country-pop recordings.

During her current concert tour, Murray neatly divides up her concert into two distinct acts.

First come the steady stream of visibly heartfelt hits (including some that were first popularized by others), including “Put A Little Love In Your Heart,” “Shadows In The Moonlight,” "I Just Fall In Love Again," “Danny’s Song,” “Snowbird,” “Daydream Believer,” “You Needed Me,” and “Could I Have This Dance,” among many others (although there was no trace of my own personal favorites: “A Love Song” or “You Won’t See Me”).

The second act is devoted almost entirely to the Christmas season and the hope it inspires, with some rousing renditions of everything from “Oh Holy Night” to “Winter Wonderland” to “Silent Night.” But it’s her encore of the exceedingly timely “A Little Good News” from 1983 that underscores Murray’s continued relevance on the musical landscape.

The dryly droll Murray also entertained with heaping helpings of friendly, yet smartly-sassy banter. She joked about the treacherous drive to Tulsa (which received its worst snowstorm in years just two nights earlier -- and the roads including those directly outside the theatre remained largely impassible last night), the incessant train whistle she could hear in her hotel room at 4 am and the many loopy e-mails she receives from fans (such as the “complimentary” ones critiquing her wardrobe selections and mentioning how her music was able to put some people to sleep).

Best of all, this endearing and tireless entertainer continues to give every ounce of her heart and soul. She still hits most of the high notes, even if her apparent lack of sleep coupled with the ultra-dry venue may have caused her vocal chords to strain just a bit (she sometimes sounded just a tad bit hoarse).

But backed by an impeccably gifted, tight (and very loyal) band and soaring orchestra, Anne Murray gave her fans a solid performance that they eagerly ate up -- and even the most jaded of musical tastes would be hard-pressed to quibble with her nuanced encore song dealing with today’s distressing headlines.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for concert tour ticket information.

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