The latest stop of the “See Them Before They Die Tour” that we are currently embarking on featured jazz artist Diana Krall. Now, you may think that Krall isn’t really old enough to worry about her dying any time soon, but then that’s what we thought about Tom Petty — so better safe than sorry.
For those of you who are not jazz aficionados — and judging from the amount of blank stares I got from people when I told them I was going to see Diana Krall, there are a lot of you out there — Krall is a jazz singer/pianist who has won a lot of awards and sold a lot of albums and you should really be ashamed of yourself if you’ve not heard of her.
She’s also married to Elvis Costello, which is neither here nor there, but it’s what I bring up when I get the blank stare, in the hopes that the person I’m talking to isn’t totally culturally inept. If you give me the blank stare when I mention Elvis Costello, then I really want to punch you in the face — but then I realize that going through life unaware of the music of Elvis Costello is really punishment enough.
The concert was Friday night downtown at the Peabody Opera House. Rather than make Laurie drive back to St. Charles and then back downtown we decided, since Bob was already watching Andrew for the day, to just let him keep watching Andrew through the evening and I would take the MetroLink downtown and we’d have a nice, leisurely dinner and a show. As opposed to the usual scarf down a Little Caesar’s pizza and rush off to the show.
Bob and Laurie were concerned about me taking mass transit (people get shot on MetroLink on a regular basis) but I figured it was daylight and there was a ballgame going on so I would be safe. Laurie would take me back to the car after dark. The train ride was uneventful.
We had a nice, leisurely dinner at Bailey’s Range — a burger joint with a unique atmosphere. It also had a winding staircase that I didn’t care for, but the food was good. We then made our way to the Peabody. I had never been there before. It’s a lovely venue with far too many stairs, especially when your seats are in the mezzanine. I don’t mind the mezzanine, but I do mind the climb. The seats were uncomfortable and there was no leg room but that seems to be the curse of all entertainment venues in St. Louis that are not movie theaters.
Hey concert venue owners, movie theaters have begun a trend of ripping out their crappy seats and replacing them with leather recliners. Take a hint. Maybe if people had comfortable chairs they wouldn’t feel compelled to stand during the show and obstruct everyone’s view.
The show started promptly at 8:12 (it was supposed to start at 8) and Krall and her impressive 4-man band played an energetic, captivating set filled with standards and more eclectic stuff. In standard jazz fashion, Krall would sing a verse or two and then things would meander musically between the five players. They did a blistering version of Tom Wait’s “Temptation” that went on forever. (Literally. I think they’re still playing it as you’re reading this).
The highlight of the show (at least for Laurie, as it’s her favorite Krall song) was a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” which somehow managed to incorporate Scott Joplin’s “Solace” while making perfect musical sense. It was accompanied by a neat lighting effect that really made the staging stand out.
So, to sum up: Didn’t die on the train, fine dinner, excellent show, nice venue, too many stairs, not enough leg room. I can cross “Diana Krall” off my list although I suspect we will be going back to see her again the next time she comes to town.