Friday, April 13, 2012

Barbara Cook: Let's Fall in Love

It's almost silly for Barbara Cook to sing "Let's Fall in Love" to the audience at Feinstein's; we all fell in love with her years ago--and, as she proves yet again, with good reason.

How do we love her? Let's me count the ways. We love her unparalleled interpretive skills. We love her wry sense of humor. We love the immediacy of her performance, as if every emotion in every song were happening for the first time that moment. We love her anecdotes. We love how she continues to challenge herself (her latest show includes over ten songs she's never sung before). We love how well she wields a mike. We love how well she wields the f-word.

For me, the highlight of her latest show is her largely acapella version of "House of the Rising Sun," which is quietly intense and beautiful. The other highlight is "Here's to Life," which she imbues with 85 years of experience, wisdom, and love. Her unmiked version of "Imagine" has the audience hanging on her every word, barely breathing. Her take on "The Nearness of You" is romantic and sexy. There are no clunkers; seventy minutes with Barbara Cook is seventy minutes in very good hands.

At the performance I saw, Cook seemed a bit under the weather. As a result, the show was only totally superb instead of completely transcendent. Cook on a bad day is what many singers would love to be on the best day of their lives.

Cook is at Feinstein's through April 21. For reviews of her other shows, click here, here, and here.

(press ticket; audience right)

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