Harry Connick’s May 2007 concert in Spokane’s INB Center went down as one of the best in recent memory. Or so I’m told. I missed it, so I picked up this DVD.
I’ve been a fan since Connick’s early days. At 18, he moved from New Orleans to New York and played the local watering holes, perfecting his repertoire of the Great American songbook. At 20, he recorded 20 — a brilliant record with just him and his piano. (I love “If I Only Had A Brain” from The Wizard of Oz.)
The next year, 1989, Connick was discovered by director Rob Reiner, who hired him for the mega-selling When Harry Met Sally soundtrack. In 1990, he starred in Memphis Belle, and his star has been burning ever since.
But a funny thing happened along the way: He went from channeling Sinatra (and even Crosby) to becoming his own musician. Especially after Hurricane Katrina devastated his hometown, he’s been all about NOLA.
Which brings us to his new DVD, In Concert On Broadway, recorded over two nights last July at the Neil Simon Theatre. As he points out in the interview segment, it was his first concert on Broadway in 20 years. And this time, instead of giving New York what he thought it wanted, he brought New Orleans to Manhattan. and judging by the audience reaction, that was perfect.
The 20 tracks are light on standards, making room for Mardi Gras up there on stage. Connick’s own compositions are among the best, especially “Light the Way.” And his big band is effortlessly awesome, with some of the best musicians working today clowning with Harry and blowing some amazing brass.
The whole thing reaches a frenzied climax with “Bourbon Street Parade.” Wow. Then an encore with Professor Longhair’s “Mardi Gras in New Orleans.” Double-wow.
There’s some music that’s worth owning on DVD, and this one qualifies. Thoughtfully, they even include a CD so you can take it in the car, too.