Wow! The pride of NOLA was in rare form in Spokane Monday night. Not only was Harry Connick Jr.
letting ’er rip with his nine-piece band, but he had the audience in stitches with his banter.
First, the music: The highlights were definitely the New Orleans tunes on the set list, putting his soulful piano playing center stage. He ran through a couple crooner numbers early — “The Way You Look Tonight” and Sinatra’s “More” — but you could tell he was just clearing his throat. The audience also got a sneak peek at three cuts from his soon-to-released new album — the first, “Tryin’ To Matter,” a riff on some offhand wisdom from his Dolphin Tale
co-star Kris Kristofferson. Along the way, he played the trumpet, the organ and even the acoustic guitar. The guy is ridiculously talented, and the show was a rare treat in front of a rowdy, almost-full INB Center.
The show also had the feel of an impromptu summer camp, as he paraded a series of teens — his kids, friends’ kids, tour staff kids — up on stage. Heck, he even brought young Washingtonian Daniel Seavey from Vancouver with him, one of the youngest contestants ever on American Idol
. After America chose someone else, Connick struck up a friendship with Seavey and he joined him Monday night, singing the old Marvin Gaye/James Taylor song, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” Even Martina McBride and her band wanted in on the Harry Connick Summer Camp and were in the audience, on a stopover between Santa Barbara and Helena. (Hey Martina, why no Spokane gig?)
But the very best part was hearing about his experiences in good, old Spokane. Let’s just say, he got a pretty accurate tour — but not the one the Chamber of Commerce types might have scheduled.
The morning of the show, he and his buddy Tucker decided to go golfing; they asked the driver to find a Starbucks. Instead, he took them to a local coffee hut. “You know about this?” Connick asked the audience. “They ain’t wearin’ no clothes in there!” When he blurted out to the baristas, “Where’s your all’s clothes?” one of them turned on him and snapped, “It’s a lingerie espresso stand!” Duh! “I’m from New Orleans, and we ain’t got nothin’ like that,” he added.
But the punchline? Tucker, you see, is one of his friend’s kids, along for the summer tour/camp. He’s 15 years old and he got a big old eyeful of Spokane in all its glory.
Next stop, the campers hauled Harry to Fastcart off Trent; the man at the door told Harry Connick Jr. that, sorry, they were closed until 4 pm. Who turns Harry Connick away? So they moved on to Sky-High Sports, where Connick couldn’t get over the reams of releases he had to sign for his young charges — joking that he should have consulted his lawyer in New York. When they finally got started, an employee shooed them away from one trampoline — again, shooing Harry Freaking Connick away — saying “Can’t you see, that’s for kids!” Connick was dumbfounded: “Isn’t this whole place for kids? What, you got an adult section somewhere?”
Finally, on the way out, he loved the signs taped to the claw candy machine: “Winner Every Time!!,” followed below by, “Play Till You Win!!” The line is so good, he posted it on his Instagram and Facebook
. Maybe it could be our new civic slogan: “Spokane: Winner Every Time, As Long As You Play ‘Till You Win.” Makes perfect sense! Here's a look at that shot from Connick's Instagram:
So, to review, Harry Connick was entertaining in about every way on Monday night, and we should all be proud that he — and the passel of kids in his care — took in the very best our city has to offer.