Friday, February 21, 2014

Aaron Neville Green Bay Concert Review

Last night Green Bay was treated to one of the finest voices in all of music history, as the incomparable Aaron Neville played an intimate two-man show.  Accompanied by a brilliant keyboardist (I caught the name but was unable to write it down), it was an intimate, beautiful performance.

Unfortunately, it started out rough for this concert-goer.  First, as is common for the area, the cavernous Weidner Center was about 25% full.  Yes, I know it was raining out and the prospect for the weather getting bad was there, but come on.  And I've seen it in too many shows.  This area just does not support concerts, and how we get any acts to stop in the first place is astonishing.  

Second, as I pulled out my phone to start documenting the set list, the old bitty sitting next to my wife smacks my wife on the knee and tells her to tell me that my phone is "distracting."  In the event you happen to be reading this ma'am, despite his multiple genres, Neville's was a ROCK AND ROLL SHOW.  Couldn't you be satisfied that you got the usher to speak to the folks in front of you about their cell phone use?  And last, how the hell old are you, anyway?

There.  That feels better.   

Thus, I don't have a set list for you.  But Neville's concert was a two-hour ramble through multiple genres, from rock to doo wop to country to old R&B and even with his trademark Ave Maria thrown in for good measure.  Many of the songs were shortened versions of early rock standards, and the set list had to be over forty songs long.  It was a wonderful tour de force by a voice that is just not matched by anyone.

And that voice was in fine form for a 73 year old man (who looked 20 years younger than that, by the way).  The pitch was perfect, styling original, and trademark falsetto as high and as strong as ever. 

Highlights of the evening for me were the following:

  • "Don't Know Much," made famous by his duet with Linda Rondstadt, it lacked nothing as a solo effort.  In fact, it made it all the more clear how great his voice is when it was not shared with another incomparable voice
  • "Under the Boardwalk" was a range display, as Neville handled the low and super-high parts interchangeably with seeming ease.
  • "Georgia on My Mind" was arguably better than the Ray Charles' original vocal.  It was truly that good.
  • "The Grand Tour," the George Jones classic, was an absolute home run.  
  • Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" was an emotional hat tip to Aaron's home state.
  • "Ave Maria," I imagine, sounded exactly like it does when the angels sing it.  Gorgeous. 
It was a great night by a true American treasure.  Unfortunately, so many people in the area missed it.

Except for one lady.  She could have missed it and we all would have been just fine.       

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