Sunday, June 8, 2008
Liza Minnelli, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
Musis Liza Minnelli,Clyde Auditorium, glasgowMarianne Gunn***** Taking the stage wearing velveteen leggings and a diamante headband, on first appearances Ms Minnelli wouldn't have been amiss on board a cruise ship. In her first UK tour in more than 20 years - and with top tickets an eye-watering £95 - expectations were high and breath was bated to see if Liza could still deliver.
Her breathy, raspy, over-dramatic delivery proved that here was a performer very much from another, stylised era. Who else could name-drop Sinatra, Scorsese and Sondheim without batting an eyelid?
For the first half you could hear a pin drop. She mesmerised with every little lispy gasp of feigned pleasure and faux nervousness - and I've never seen a standing ovation for almost every song.
It was a show that was slick to the point of extreme facial choreography - and, boy, does Liza know how to work it. She may as well have crowed "lights, camera, action!" whenever those eyes started darting and fluttering around and to the auditorium.
She is also a consummate comedienne, a fact that was not lost as she joked about her extreme dieting, ironically citing both Jenny Craig and Sara Lee as Great American Women. Her extreme marital habits were also mentioned: "One day I was divorcing someone " she joked with the crowd, to fabulous whoops of support and adoration.
But, as it should be, the songs were the true show-stoppers - numbers such as Cabaret's Maybe This Time and My Own Best Friend from her Broadway days as Roxie Hart in Chicago. Closing the first half, she duped the crowd with an understated, tongue-in-cheek intro to Kander and Ebb's Cabaret. Her other signature tune - New York, New York - provided the pinnacle moment of the second half, which was a tribute to her godmother Kay Thompson, a vocal coach, writer, performer and truly inspirational woman.
As part of a generation who knows Liza Minnelli more for the ill-advised Stepping Out than her seminal turn in Cabaret, it was a pleasure to see an old-school star in action, in the limelight and just about in touch with reality.