10/24/12

Concert Review: Melody Gardot, Philadelphia, 9/29/12

A triumphant homecoming for a vocal favorite

Philadelphia fans were delighted to welcome home one of their own, Grammy-nominated singer, composer and producer Melody Gardot, on the final part of her Absence tour, which is also the title of her latest album.

From the moment she walked onto the dimly lighted stage of Philadelphia’s Merriam Theater, Gardot received a thunderous applause, as she stood alone under a single spotlight. She appeared to be shrouded in drama and mystery as she began an a cappella version of the achingly painful spiritual and traditional work song “No More, My Lord.” She kept the haunting rhythm by humming the melody, tapping her foot and shaking a bracelet-like tambourine. The audience was completely silent during this spellbinding opening selection.

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Melody Gardot, Philadelphia, 9/12
By Ben Johnson
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Melody Gardot, Philadelphia, 9/12
By Ben Johnson

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Gardot was funny and playful with the audience as she talked a bit about the tour and her travels to Lisbon and Brazil, where she learned the language. She played the piano effortlessly, blending soft, bluesy chords to match her feathery vibrato. She was joined on stage by an outstanding band that contributed solos on saxophone, guitar and percussion on the tunes “Mira” and “So Long.”

Other original tunes included “Deep Within the Corners of My Heart,” “My One and Only Thrill” and “Worrisome Heart.” She turned “Somewhere over the Rainbow” into a beautiful Brazilian samba. Gardot got the audience involved in the energy on “Who Will Comfort Me” by having them clap and chant, “Oh Lord, who will comfort me.” Everyone was out of their seats, dancing to the music.

Gardot looked so chic in all-black attire and showed off her red patent stilettos while playing electric guitar on her signature song, “Baby I'm a Fool.”

She ended the performance with two encores, “Summertime” and “Fever,” and the audience was again spellbound by her sultry, bluesy style.

More images from the Melody Gardot performance can be found in Ben Johnson’s photo gallery
“The Art of Live Jazz” by clicking here.

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