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Concert - November 22 2014 Morristown, New Jersey Mayo Performing Arts Center 7:00 PM

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Willyiam

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The Venue:
http://www.mayoarts.org/

1300 seats available. Tickets go on sale on Monday, June 15, at 12:00pm/NOON EST. Tickets are available for purchase online. For tickets, please go to: Ticket link: https://online.mayoarts.org/online (ticket buy link will become active on June 15th). Tickets are also available for sale over the phone 973-539-8008 , or in person at the venue's box office.

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2 Audience Reviews on Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:16 pm

Willyiam

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Conductor: Peter Kiesewalter
Orchestra: New Jersey Festival Orchestra

Mayo Performing Arts Center Morristown, NJ Set List:
1.  Take Me There
2.  Made To Dream
3.  Memories
4.  Orchestra: Instrumental From Carmen
5.  The Impossible Dream
6.  Your Love
7.  Je T'aime
Intermission
8.  Lovers
9.  Ave Maria
10. With Or Without You
11. Orchestra: Nessun Dorma
12. Vocalize
13. My Immortal
14. Ombre Mei Fu
15. Think Of Me
16. Encore: The Lords Prayer

From Skylark on Amazon:

Skylark says:
In Act I, Scene 1 of Twelfth Night, Duke Orsino says, "If music be the food of love, play on...." I will take the line out of context to say that for an audience of more than 1100 at Mayo tonight, it was their "food of love."....love for the once prodigy child, now a lovely young woman. Love for the music she brought to us all, with the admission early on that she was recovering from pneumonia, but she was there to do the show we all wanted.

The set list has already been provided. I'll now try to supply the color commentary.

We finished dinner early and arrived 45 minutes before show time. Parking was easy because we are familiar with Morristown and found on-the-street parking 2 short blocks from the theater. There was a small area set aside in the lobby, where a variety of Jackie souvenirs were sold including t-shirts, sweat shirts, bracelets, posters, and Awakening cd's. They were doing a brisk business before the show and during intermission.

Our seats were 5th row center - could not have asked for a better location. Saw several familiar faces in the first few rows. Lots of buttons. No seal hats. Nobody penguin waddling. One little girl - maybe 7 or 8 years old - in a party dress, in the 3rd row was having a great time she got up and danced during With or Without You. There was a smattering of youngsters in the audience. This was, however, a "typical" Jackie group: I think it was Bea Arthur in the song Bosom Buddies from Mame who, when asked how old she was, replies "....somewhere between 40 and death." You get the picture, and my wife and I don't exactly skew the age toward the low end.

So much to report:

Jackie wore a beautiful dark blue formal dress for here first set. After intermission she wore an absolutely drop-dead black gown, which I'm sure will show up in photos soon. They won't do it justice. The design was highlighted by the spotlights.

When the show opened, the orchestra was revealed when the curtain opened. I counted 12 members, including the first violinist, who walked onstage just prior to the entrance of Peter K. I think many were expecting John Mario, and when PK walked on and sat at the piano, he received no acknowledgment - not one random clap. This was not a sign of disrespect: 1100 people simply thought, "OK, here's the pianist, now where's the conductor?" Our mistake was obvious when he proceeded to introduce Jackie (who entered to strong applause) and cued the orchestra.

The audience had a collective gasp when at the conclusion of her third song, Memories, Jackie simply walked off the stage without waiting (as I recall) for the final orchestral bars) or for applause. I was concerned that she might be having vocal problems, and even PK seemed nonplussed. He did say that Jackie would be right back, and he led the orchestra in a spirited entr'acte from Bizet's Carmen. By the way, this was one heck of a fine group of musicians. With PK's piano and soundboard, they produced more than enough symphony sound. Oh, and there was a collective sigh of relief when JE came back on stage for The Impossible Dream.

There was warm applause at the conclusion of each song, with a few members of the audience standing. The final song of the concert was Think of Me. I have heard her sing this many times: on the promotional clips, on the music video and the making of the music video, and of course on the cd. In my opinion as a non-professional, as much as I love her voice, the octave jump (if that's the right term) the "surprise" at the conclusion of the song has had a slight jarring effect - that is up until tonight. Tonight it was perfection. Even my wife, who has said to me previously that the "jump" didn't sound "right," was completely in agreement that it was spot-on tonight. The audience agreed if the resounding standing O is any indication.

Another brief moment of anticipation was felt during the second set when PK and orchestra performed an impressive rendition of Nessun Dorma. Was it possible that
Jackie would join them on stage and bring the house down with.....no, just wishful thinking. Not yet, especially not tonight. She was running on grit toward the end This was obvious when she came out for her encore. It was clear that she was straining through the last bars of The Lord's Prayer. There would be no second encore.

Well boys and girls, I don't think I have ever written so much in any post in more than 4 years. Enough for now....maybe too much for some. 30

Skylark says:
Thanks for all the kind comments and "thumbs up."

In answer to a few questions:

No, there was no opening orchestral piece. Yes, PK did have a synthesizer in addition to the Steinway. He is very charismatic and is the real deal on the instruments.

By straining I meant that at times she was a little short of breath. This was most evident in the encore,TLP, and I attribute this to the fact that it was at the end of the concert and that she is still recovering from her illness.

More good things about MPAC. They actually gave each member of the audience a Playbill style program. Nice souvenir. Jackie (among others) on the cover, and a write up inside. Finally, only a few minutes after returning home, I received an email from MPAC expressing thanks for attending the concert. Obviously everyone there was contacted the same way.

From Be of Good Cheer on Amazon:
Be of Good Cheer says:
For the fashionistas: someone said the first dress (long dark blue, tiny sparkles but very simple) was the same one on the 2014 AGT guest appearance - and having checked that video, I agree. It looked darker to the eye though than either on that video or on the photo on Proboards (someone must have been using a proper camera, because a phone camera always shows her totally washed out on stage).

Also: there was a video in the background, with content more or less appropriate to each song (for example: for Lovers, there were shots of what looked like a traditional Japanese tea room or some such, mostlly bamboo, rice paper, and calligraphy, with what might have been falling flower petals overlaid on it at certain points).

There was a fair bit of patter and kidding between PK and Jackie; a work in progress, but definitely with potential - and something that PK appears comfortable enough with. It will be interesting to see how it tightens up as they work together over a few months (I'm next going to the Pittsburgh show).

I _suspect_ if JMdC is still going to be involved, it will be at venues that are a co-deal with a full orchestra, and/or west coast venues, since that's where he is now.

Be of Good Cheer says:
The strings ranged from violin to cello (or whatever the big one is). No percussion - that was synth or backing track.

No JM tonight; it remains to be seen whether and under what circumstances he'll make further appearances.

Straining...she never sounded raw or anything like that. Easily tired, and more than usual trouble breathing (in other words, voice recovery probably on track enough to perform, but lungs still not 100%) - IMO, of course.

Look at it this way: given that sales were ample for the show to go on, and it wasn't actually dangerous to go on, she had little choice but to go on, even if she knew she'd be struggling a bit.

From Clix Pix on Proboards:
Winding down now after a wonderful concert and some fun chatter among fans in the Hyatt lounge area afterward.....

The format of the concerts is definitely shifting away from the more formal atmosphere of the past to more interaction between Jackie and Peter K onstage as well as more interaction between Jackie and the audience. Peter's influence is definitely felt. Jackie looked lovely in both her gowns, the first an elegantly simple one, the second a glittery sparkly elegant one, both suited to the music she sings and to her own sense of style -- flattering and attractive. I also liked what she did with her hair, too, for the second set.

Something else different: a video screen which displayed various scenes appropriate to the music. It was not obtrusive and did not detract or distract from Jackie, at least in my opinion and added a new visual dimension to the show.

Jackie had us in the palm of her hand all the way...... I was delighted to hear not just material from "Awakening," but also favorites from the earlier albums as well. Doing some of the songs as a medley was really an interesting idea, but I suspect more than a few of us were a little confused at first when she segued from one song into the next.

Yes, Peter conducted from his position at the piano, and along with the grand piano he was playing he had an electronic keyboard setbup adjacent to it, which he used from time to time. There must have been an additional backing tape, as the orchestra was all strings, even as we heard percussion and such along the way.

Time to call it a night now after a busy day......

Clix Pix says:
I was there in Morristown last night. I also was at Longwood back in late August and at Lancaster in early August, so my experiences of Jackie and her voice and concert formats have been fairly recent. IMHO the new concert format wasn't poorly done -- it was....um....experimentally done. It was, yes, new. New to the singer, new to the music director who has just come on board, as of a few months ago, new to the orchestra playing with them for the first time. Yes, due to circumstances, in the end this became the first concert of the "Awakening" era, and Jackie was still feeling the effects of the pneumonia, as well as getting used to a new musical director and to a new format as well as singing a whole raft of songs live that she's only sung live once before (PBS taping). Peter K, too,is undoubtedly still getting used to working with Jackie, getting a real sense of her overall style and "flow." From an audience -- or should I say, long-time fan perspective -- the new format was intriguing and surprising and also, yes, a little disconcerting for us old-timers who have been to several Jackie concerts in the past. This wasn't the usual formal production with John Mario at the podium this time, this was a whole new ballgame, and I think it's going to take everyone a little time to really get to the point where it feels comfortable and "right." That's OK. Last night was the first time that this has been done by all parties; as Jackie and Peter are together on stage more and more over the next several months, things will be honed and polished and they'll see what works, what doesn't work and why.....

I for one loved that last night they emphasized the songs such as "Memories," "My Immortal" and "With or Without You." That last was sheer delight! Even though no one got up and danced in the aisles, I can attest to the fact that there were at least two of us who were really in tune with the music and swaying, gently rocking to Jackie's singing and the instrumental backing...... Smile I also greatly appreciated that Jackie sang most of my favorites from the "Awakening" album, and was truly surprised to hear "Ombra Mai Fu" coming up again, as I'd never thought I'd hear that in concert again. It's still one of my all-time favorites, and I loved it last night even though, yeah, unfortunately Peter goobered up the beginning of it and therefore kind of threw Jackie off-balance a bit. That's OK.....she still managed to make something of the song anyway! Smile They'll get it all together sooner or later with that medley or perhaps with a different combination of songs for the medley, as that concept is a really good idea overall for changing the pace of the show. Jackie probably still wasn't quite ready physically for the challenges of doing three songs in a row like that, though, but as time goes on she'll regain her strength and all will be well.

I suspect that as time goes on that with Peter K around, there will be more heading in the direction of classic-fused-with-contemporary and that can really be all for the good if handled right and if everyone (including the audience) is on board with it. I see interesting and exciting times ahead!

In the meantime Jackie is still trying to get rid of the last remnants of the pneumonia and that does take a while so it may be another month or two before she's really fully back in top form. That said, I was astonished at how well she actually did do last night, trouble spots notwithstanding, and for me her voice was still beautiful and amazing just about all of the time..... True, she couldn't always achieve what she has done in the past (and will do again in the future) with regard to some songs or some notes/range within songs, but she was able to gracefully (and often unobtrusively) compensate for that, presenting listeners with a beautiful aural experience regardless....and that's pretty darned amazing

From 10027fan on Proboards:

Jackie sounded lovely, considering that she had been quite sick for a while.  She gained confidence during the first half but she ran out of gas by the end of the concert and was too tired to sustain notes in the last number ("Think of Me") and the encore ("TLP"). It seemed that they also made the decision along the way to cut one or more numbers.  Not surprising.  The good thing was that her throat sounded basically healthy.

The backing track/Midi program was operated by a separate person.  Peter used the electric keyboard for additional synthesized instrument sounds.  There were 12 or 13 string players on stage (I wasn't exactly sure of the number because the piano was in my way.  But the backing track was very loud and made the live string players comparatively puny sounding most of the time; also, there was some distortion in the backing track, when it was fed into the theater's sound system, so it made some unwanted background noise and at times did not blend well with the instruments.  Adding to this was that the piano was not tuned precisely to the backing track (the string players tuned to the piano), and this gave the backing track a dull sound at times.  They would have been much better off with a band like David Foster used in the Las Vegas holiday concert with Jackie and no backing track.  Or just a backing track and no live strings.  But I was not sold on the two together.

Peter played the piano quite a bit and conducted sometimes with a hand, and sometimes with just his head.  Peter and Jackie did not yet have the act really co-ordinated between them, but that should improve as the tour goes on.  He also made some mistakes at the piano (his concentration seemed to me to wane from time to time), and he made a major mistake at the beginning of Ombra Mai Fu that threw Jackie off, but hopefully he will get it together as the tour goes on.  He also was not able to keep the strings really together with the backing track, especially on their musical entrances, but some of the players did not seem to be up to it, or they had inadequate rehearsal.  Peter introduced himself and mentioned some things about his background.  I did not really like some of his repartee with Jackie, but again, this will doubtless evolve as the tour goes on.

I hope very much that they abandon the idea of running the three numbers together (vocalise/My Immortal/Ombra Mai Fu) into one long number.  First of all, Jackie desperately needed more breaks in this concert, not fewer (she had no duet partner or trumpet player, etc. to provide breaks for her -- she will have one in Costa Rica.).  Running the numbers together like that was obviously vocally exhausting for Jackie.  Secondly, the audience wants to be able to applaud for each number.  Thirdly, these three numbers are not complementary when performed this way.



Last edited by Willyiam on Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:18 am; edited 1 time in total

3 Selfie and Audience Images on Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:45 pm

Willyiam

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