Home > Concert Photos, Indie Rock, Jazz & Avant, Rock & Pop, Singer-Songwriter > REVIEW: Nellie McKay’s ‘I Want To Live!’ in Oregon @ the Shedd & Alberta Rose Theatre (Eugene 3/2/12 & Portland 3/4/12)

REVIEW: Nellie McKay’s ‘I Want To Live!’ in Oregon @ the Shedd & Alberta Rose Theatre (Eugene 3/2/12 & Portland 3/4/12)

6th Mar 12 (Tue) Leave a comment Go to comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOWs at the BOTTOM

I’ve seen Nellie McKay quite a bit since moving to Oregon.  She plays two-week residencies in New York on occasion (lucky!!), but she rarely hit the Midwest when I lived there.  Now that I’m here in the Northwest, I’m glad that she tried to swing by at least annually.  This time was for her new project, yet to be released officially in any form… I Want To Live! – a story of Barbara Graham, the third woman to be executed in the State of California (via the gas chamber at San Quentin).  It’s loosely based on the 1958 film of the same name.

This death row theme shouldn’t be a shock for fans of McKay.  She’s never been afraid to push boundaries – hitting political hot-button issues right out of the gate with her debut album, Get Away From Me (“Sari,” “It’s a Pose,” “Won’t U Please B Nice,” et cetera), and some of her non-jazz-standard followups Pretty Little Head (“Cupcake” and “The Big One”) and Obligatory Villagers (“Mother of Pearl”).

In person, though, she’s as lovable and jovial as some of her adorable, campy press photos suggest.  She’s also a great thinker, great interpreter of classics & standards, and a great artist in her own right.  She may have been “born in the wrong era” (her words), but she’s doing the best with her love of the classics by making a great mark and not giving in to the current trends in what a jazz/pop “woman and a piano” should sound or act.

The first hour of the I Want To Live! tour makes up the story of a woman who falls in with the wrong people, gets caught up in a crime, and – whether innocent or not – is found guilty of murder.  Nellie plays all of the emotions perfectly.  Love, mystery, joy, pain, frustration – all while weaving in standards and her own tunes to tell Barbara Graham’s story.  While she hints at Graham’s fervor for being innocent, Nellie leaves her opinion about guilt or innocence out of the musical.  She also leaves her opinion of the death penalty out of it, which – quite honestly – was shocking that she didn’t add some of her thoughts on it, specifically due to her past as being very politically opinionated.  Perhaps that will show up in the liner notes if this gets released as an CD or DVD some day…

 

I Want To Live! setlist: about an hour (both nights)

  • Billie’s Bounce [Charlie Parker]
  • Purple Haze [Jimi Hendrix]
  • Swingin’ On The Reservation [Ella Fitzgerald]
  • Please
  • Pity The Downtrodden Landlord [Woolf/Clayton]
  • April Showers [DeSylva/Silvers]
  • Isn’t It A Lovely Day [Irving Berlin]
  • They Say It’s Spring [Blossom Dearie]
  • Some Other Spring [Billie Holiday]
  • I Only Have Eyes For You [Warren/Dubin]
  • Don’t Worry Be Happy [Bobby McFerrin]
  • The Down Low
  • Call The Police [Nat King Cole]
  • Twinkle In Your Eye [Burl Ives]
  • Song For Troy Davis
  • I’m So Tired [The Beatles]
  • There You Are In Me
  • Small Day Tomorrow [Landesman/Dorough]
  • Chelsea Bridge [Billy Strayhorn]
  • Genius Of Love [Tom Tom Club]
  • Ah! The Sweet Mystery Of Life [from Naughty Marietta operetta by Young/Herbert] (gorgeous operatic chops on Nellie for this one)
  • Straight To The Top [Tom Waits]
    I think I got all of the cover tunes identified, if not, please comment& I’ll correct.

Eugene setlist, post-IWTL! (3/2): about 30 mins

  • One’s On the Way [Shel Silverstein]
  • Midnight Sun [Ella Fitzgerald]
  • ¡Bodega!
  • Clonie (audience request)
  • Sari (audience request)
  • Encore: A Wonderful Guy [Doris Day]
  • The Dog Song

Portland setlist, post-IWTL! (3/4): about 30 mins

  • The Dog Song
  • In a Sentimental Mood [Duke Ellington] (with false start)
  • Caribbean Time
  • I Will Always Love You [Whitney Houston] (snippet)
  • Encore: One’s On the Way [Shel Silverstein] (dedicated to Rick Santorum)
  • Mother of Pearl (with Michele Bachmann tagline at end)
  • I Wanna Get Married

Two wonderfully entertaining nights in Oregon.  Nellie and her band are excellent performers and entertainers.  Through wardrobe changes, police chases, drug addiction, and working in different musical genres – the band was on point.  At one point, the saxophonist mimics a crying baby simply with his mouth as the instrument, and it drives you mad how amazing he pulls it off without a talkbox or effects.

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Adam Carolla @ the Newmark (3/11) and Puscifer @ the Schnitzer (3/14).

~Dan – np: Steven WilsonCatalogue / Preserve / Amass (live in Europe)

NELLIE McKAY PHOTOS
Eugene (53 pics) then Portland (32 pics)
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Nellie’s 2012 Winter/Spring Tour Dates (so far)

  • 1/25 & 1/26 – Minneapolis, MN Dakota
  • 2/9 – Lafayette, IN Duncan Hall
  • 2/10 & 2/11 – Elgin, IL Elgin Community College Arts Center
  • 2/12 – Louisville, KY Bomhard Theater
  • 2/25 – Park City, UT Eccles Center
  • 2/28 & 2/29 – San Francisco, CA Rrazz Room
  • 3/2 – Eugene, OR Shedd Institute
  • 3/3 – Kirkland, WA Kirkland Performing Arts Center
  • 3/4 – Portland, OR Alberta Rose Theatre
  • 3/7 – Chico, CA Laxson Auditorium
  • 3/8 – Santa Cruz, CA Kuumbwa Jazz Center
  • 3/9 – Hollywood, CA Catalina Jazz Club
  • 3/20 to 3/31 – New York, NY Feinstein’s at Loews Regency
    ^^^^ “SILENT SPRING – It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature”
  • 4/26 – Alexandria, VA The Birchmere Music Hall
  • 5/19 – Denver, CO Swallow Hill
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