Three concerts I did not attend

I go to a lot of concerts. But among the concerts I treasure most there are three that I did not attend. I have watched and listened to them many times on DVD or YouTube, but I was not there. Every time I watch them I say to myself – it must have been a wonderful experience to be in the audience. These are the three.

Diana Krall Live in Paris

One day in the beginning of the new millennium I heard a Burt Bacharach song in an interpretation that was new to me. I heard it on radio, but did not catch the name of the female singer. She had a deep and sensual voice, and she sang slowly with a serious and sincere expression. In some parts of the song her voice had a sharp tone, but there were also other and softer facets. And there was also a delicate and restrained piano in the background. Important but not intrusive. I was like struck by lightning. I just had to know who the singer was.

It took me a day to identify her through the Internet. It proved to be Diana Krall and the song was of course The Look of Love. However, it was not until I bought my first Diana Krall album that I realised that the singer and the piano player was the same person. Since then I have bought every album and DVD with Diana Krall, and I have seen her many times on different stages in Europe. Actually Diana became the gateway for me to start listening actively to music again after a couple of decades with other interests. In a way you can say she is the origin of

Diana Krall is still around, touring and making new wonderful records. But a mile stone in Diana’s career is definitely the concert at l’Olympia in Paris 2001, recorded both on CD and DVD. The concert is magnificent. Sophisticated – but still with feelings of the heart. I held it for a long time as the best recorded concert I have seen and heard. Diana and her fellow musicians deliver a long line of very fine interpretations of jazz classics in a masterly concert production. On stage together with Diana is among others her close music partners Andrew Wilson, Jeff Hamilton and John Clayton – but also beautiful strings from the European Symphony Orchestra. It doesn’t get much better. Please enjoy what I have enjoyed so many times.

This is the start of the concert, but I recommend you to buy the DVD with the full concert. It will be one of your best investments!

Concert for George

Secondly, we will return to the 1960’s and 70’s with the help of George Harrison’s old friends and music companions. In 2002, one year after George Harrison’s death, they came to Albert Hall in London to participate in Concert for George. (Yes, Paul and Ringo were there.) The joy of watching and listening to this concert has many dimensions. You discover the intrinsic quality of George Harrison’s songs as they show up in this very special setting, you see all these famous and skilled musicians having fun and creating something beautiful together, you are part of this Albert Hall party for George etc. Well, find out for yourself what makes you happy by watching this concert, because I am sure you will be.

There have been many events where famous artists from different bands and solo careers have come to jam together, but I haven’t seen any event as professional and well produced – and still warm – as this one. The music and the expression that shines from the stage is just plain beautiful. George Harrison’s old friend Eric Clapton was the musical director and he held the concert together on stage. Jeff Lynne was the concert audio producer. I’m sure these tasks couldn’t have been placed in better hands.

This is one of many high lights from the concert. Again, buy the DVD!

Mariza: Concerto em Lisboa

And last my new love in music – the Portuguese fado. Actually I discovered the fado through listening to Brazilian music. The internet associations, sensitive to cultural context, forwarded me to Portugal. I am thankful for that. The last two years I have discovered a new world of music, emotions and expressions through the fado. The voice and the expression of the fadista might be what you first take notice of when you meet the fado for the first time, but soon you realize that the combination of the singer and the guitars in the traditional fado group forms a strong musical and emotional unit.

Today you can see and hear fadistas accompanied also by other instruments, and this is the case in my third concert. The fadista is Mariza, often said to be the successor of the legendary Amália Rodrigues as the queen of fado. I have seen Mariza twice – in Hamburg and in my home town Gothenburg. Both concerts were exquisite, but there is one that is even closer to my heart – the outdoor concert in Lisbon 2006. By then I did not know of Mariza. I had not even started listening to fado, but it doesn’t stop me from regretting that I was not there – in Lisbon.

In this concert Mariza is accompanied by a traditional guitar group, but also by a small symphony orchestra – Sinfonietta Lisboa. Together they form a magnificent whole. Mariza’s song, emotional expression and charisma is something of the most beautiful I have seen on a stage. You cannot separate her personal warmth and beauty from her musical accomplishment. They form a unity of music and drama. And the love between Mariza and her audience, especially in the last song Gente Da Minha Terra, is breath-taking. Award yourself with Mariza’s concert in Lisbon 2006 on DVD. The full concert cannot be found on YouTube, but here is Gente Da Minha Terra.