Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Liza wows Toronto fans

By , Sun Media
Last Updated: 8th April 2009, 3:58am

Liza Minnelli may have an indomitable spirit - she's a survivor of four marriages, double hip replacement surgery, viral encephalitis, and has battled drugs and alcohol over the years - but time has caught up with even her.
"I used to sit down in the second act - now I sit down in the first act!" said the 63-year-old performing legend before dragging a chair over to centre stage on Tuesday night at Roy Thomson Hall.
The Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner may have been noticeably out of breath between songs, but when she was singing, she put everything she had - emotion, vulnerability, humor and strength - into her vocals backed by a 11-piece orchestra including her pianist-arranger of 18 years, Billy Stritch.
Minnelli also still has great musicality, dramatically moving her arms in time to the rhythm and beats, and was in noticeably better physical shape than when she last played the Toronto area at Casino Rama in 2005.
Her latest album is called Liza's At The Palace, in reference to a series of shows she staged last December at the legendary New York venue that was the scene of some of the greatest triumphs of her mother, Judy Garland.
"I just closed at The Palace - you know how many people want to say that?" said Minnelli. "That was the most thrilling experience of my life - and I've had a lot of swell times."
So Tuesday night's set list largely followed what is on that two-CD collection, the first brimming one with her well-known songs and the second one a tribute to her godmother Kay Thompson.
Minnelli opened with Teach Me Tonight, decked out in a black sequined sweater set, slimming black velvet pants, silver heels and black scarf which she quickly disposed of after the first song.
The audience, meanwhile, was really rooting for her as they screamed out their undying love and devotion between songs, presented flower bouquets, and even jumped to their feet and cheered for such Minnelli anthems as Maybe This Time, Cabaret, But The World Goes Round, Liza With A Z, and New York, New York.
The goodwill was palatable.
"My god, what a reception," said Minnelli, early in the show. "I feel like I'm coming home."
Minnelli, who was wonderfully funny as the vertigo-riddled Lucille on Arrested Development and recently made a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live earlier this year, showed great comic timing too.
She spoke of always being drawn to songs about falling in love but how that has changed.
"At this time of my life I find I'm particularly drawn to songs about falling out (of love)," she said, before launching into If You Hadn't, But You Did, which included her firing off three shots of a fake gun mid-song and killing her imaginary lover, whose body she delicately walked over before retrieving her microphone tucked between her legs.
Minnelli knows how to keep the glamour quotient high too.
When she emerged for the second act of her 95-minute show, she had changed into a sequined brown tunic and skinny pants and the audience roared their approval.
Songs that followed included I Can't Give You Anything But Love - which was presented as a duet with Stritch - Alexander's Ragtime Band and Mammy.
"Remember when I used to get down on one knee?" said Minnelli during Mammy. "Forget it!"
And when the audience demanded an encore, just Minnelli and Stritch returned to the stage even though the singer claimed: "I don't have any more loud songs."
Still, she managed to find the perfect farewell tune as she sat down beside Stritch on the piano stool and sang, Everytime We say Goodbye.
"When I was little, I discovered everything I wanted to say had been written in a song," she explained, summing up her act in one sentence.
Sun Rating: 4 out of 5
Liza Minnelli
Roy Thomson Hall
Tuesday night

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