Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Minnelli flies by the seat of her pantsuit with SLSO

When Liza Minnelli walked onstage at Powell Hall on Saturday wearing an evening gown and heels, it was immediately clear something wasn’t quite right.
The 64-year-old performer, who kicked off her new tour in a performance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, typically favors glittery pantsuits. And while she looked great — slimmer than she’s looked in years — something was bugging her. She appeared to be struggling to walk, and her breaths were heavy. She spent much of her time sitting.
After opening with “Sweetest Sounds” — during which she flubbed her entrance — and “Toot, Toot, Tootsie,” she left the stage and returned moments later wearing a pantsuit.

Also, she was barefoot.

“I have to be honest,” Minnelli later said. “I’ve got two false hips. I’ve got a shoulder that cracks. And I just had a knee replacement.”

It was a fitting introduction to the song “Why Don’t They Mention the Pain?,” during which she stopped and restarted the orchestra to get a cue just right.

Minnelli’s apparent pain aside, the evening was marked by many odd moments. At one point, she said, “I’ll be right back,” instructed her pianist and longtime collaborator Billy Stritch to sing (he did, beautifully), and exited stage right.

And later, after delivering a heartfelt speech about love, Minnelli stopped herself. “I just did the wrong introduction,” she said. “Sorry, kids.”
At times, the orchestra, conducted by Jamie Schmidt, completely overpowered Minnelli’s vocals. But at other times, the blend of the music and Minnelli’s big voice was just perfect.

Minnelli and her own sextet later broke from the orchestra to perform a moving selection of music from her new album, “Confessions,” due in September: “You Fascinate Me So,” “I Hadn’t Anyone ’Til You,” “This Heart of Mine,” “Close Your Eyes,” “He’s a Tramp” and “I Must Have That Man,” which originally was recorded by Minnelli’s godmother, St. Louisan Kay Thompson.

But Minnelli was at her best during the songs she’s sung for her fans a million times — “Teach Me Tonight,” “Maybe This Time,” “Cabaret” and “New York, New York” elicited much-deserved rock-concert-like squeals. At least one cigarette lighter was held in the air.

“I love you, Liza!” someone would shout from the audience.
“I love you, too,” she replied. “You know that.”

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