Friday, February 27, 2015

Legendary Patti LuPone's Fantastic San Francisco Show

The best of the Broadway belters, none other than veteran entertainer Patti LuPone, brought her "Far Away Places" show to Davis Symphony Hall on Feb. 23 and before she came on stage fans were screaming her name. When she appeared, without uttering a word or note, rapturous applause broke out.

For two-hours this legendary diva took us on a musical tour around the nation and globe, with delicious helpings of wonderful stories and asides between songs. She was backed by a fantastic five-man band, The Gypsy Drifters, who delivered fantastic melodies and sounds perfectly meshing with her voice.

From the Stephen Sondheim canon our ears were tickled with "By the Sea" from his masterpiece, "Sweeney Todd", which she performed years ago with the San Francisco Symphony at the same hall.

The number that has most stayed with me was a rather unexpected choice,  Kris Kristofferson's road song "Me and Bobby McGee", that she sang with a ballad warm ballad tempo. It was a fresh rendition of this rock classic. In the same vein, she covered Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" with just the right amount of wistfulness.

LuPone treated us to a beautifully rousing "What's New Buenos Aires?" from the show that cemented her legend back in the day, "Evita". When she forgot the lyrics, she said, "Of all the songs to mess up, it had to be this one!" The audience reveled in her trouper humor before she picked up perfectly from where she left off.

During her second act, LuPone mentioned with pride that her son Josh was in the audience, in an upper box and a spotlight was shone on him. Did she say he's following in her acting footsteps. Yes, indeed, to the cheers of her fans.

That glorious LuPone voice was on full display in her final encore number, "Haste Ye Back", performed a cappella. This fan would have appreciated another number or two of her unaccompanied by the band but, alas, she again left me wanting more -- something I've experienced many terrific times over the decades catching her live performances.

As we exited Davies Symphony Hall, people were smiling from ear-to-ear and speaking of how much the loved the show the legendary LuPone delivered. Let's pray to the Broadway gods that she pays San Francisco another visit soon.

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