clear night sky painted
with stars and a bright moon served as a beautiful
addition to the red velvet curtains and glittering
backdrop that stood on the stage of the Norah Jones
and the Handsome Band concert.
Amphitheatre was packed with people, as it usually
is whenever a big name comes to Salt Lake City. This
time, however, the scene could almost be mistaken
for a picnic rather than a concert. The seats near
the stage were filled with people who spoke to each
other in low voices, sipping on beers and wrapping
themselves in blankets or their loved one’s
arms. The lawn of the amphitheatre was nearly hidden
beneath the blankets and sweatshirts that people
quietly sat on awaiting the soothing
voice of the nation’s hottest figure in jazz-pop.
The serene environment at the amphitheatre
livened up a little as Norah Jones walked on stage. With her long,
dark hair held away from her face by a thin black headband, Jones looked more
like someone coming to see the show than the artist performing. Wearing a tank top and jeans, Jones gave a brief wave to the audience and walked over to sit at her piano, where she immediately began playing. The seductive voice of Norah Jones was instantly magical as she began singing “What am I to You”, the second track on her recently released album, Feels Like Home.
Jones and her Handsome Band proved to be talented entertainers, as each member
of the band was given their own solo time, in which they proved to posses just
as much instrumental talent as Jones possesses vocally.
Perhaps the most amazing
element of the concert was the fact that Jones sounds even better on stage
than she does on her album. The rich, soothing voice
that has made Jones famous came across so clearly
that one had to question whether or not this was
live show. Jones hit every note perfectly; the transition from piano to forte was
powerful in every song that required it. Each song was followed by a polite
clap from the huge audience who remained so quiet during her performance that
it was easy to forget there were other people there.
The magical moments of
Jones’ performance were occasionally
broken up, ironically, by the singer herself. Though she has proven an immense
talent in co-writing her music and performing both vocally and instrumentally,
Jones has not yet mastered the technique of working the audience. In between
songs, Jones would awkwardly smile at the audience and sometimes talk to
the people up front who would yell at her between sets.
Her responses were cute, often consisting of shrugged shoulders and funny
faces directed towards the audience. When she did speak to the entire audience,
she didn't really seem
sure what to say. This usually resulted in a random story or joke that she
would hurriedly cut off by jumping into her next set.
Jones’ awkward interactions with the audience served as a reminder to
her fans that being a famous performer is still rather new to the successful
artist. With her first album selling over 18 million copies and earning her
an abundance of Grammies, Jones is still settling into the initial shock of going
from a lounge player to filling concert halls and amphitheatres with over-eager
fans. Her second album, Feels Like Home, sold 1 million copies in its first
week of release and is still seeing sales climb.
Jones focused on her new album throughout the performance, introducing
the various songs that she sang and assigning the credit to whichever member
of the Handsome Band wrote or co-wrote the song. One of the better numbers was
a Gram Parsons cover that Jones performed entitled, “She”. Jones
did an excellent job performing that song, and it was in that performance that her voice was
strongest and most convincing. Sadly, Jones’ cover of “She” is
not found on either of her albums, but was relished by the audience during her
As the brief concert (Jones’ performance lasted a little over an hour)
drew to an end, some of the magic that Jones brought with her lingered in the
air. Many of the fans walked to their cars during the last number in order
to avoid traffic, and as they pulled away, they could hear the crystal clear voice
of Jones follow them out, leaving a sense of enchantment that will
hopefully stay with them until Norah Jones once again graces Salt Lake City
with her stunning voice.