If you weren’t there to see it firsthand, it’s difficult to describe just how much the world was in love with Liza Minnelli in 1974. The Tony Award-winning singer and actress had just come off an Academy Award-winning performance in Cabaret, and was the veritable golden girl of stage and screen. When it was announced that she would do a month-long run of concerts at the Winter Garden Theatre, all 24 shows sold out in 36 hours, a Winter Garden record.
This is Liza at her best, both in terms of career timing and being smack in the middle of her element. She owns the stage, and in an era where Broadway concerts were a relatively new concept, she showed that a big enough performer didn’t need elaborate sets or a chorus to back her up. That she could keep audiences enthralled on her own night after night is a testament not only to her talent as a singer, but to her excellence as a consummate stage performer.
The track selections on this collection feature a balance between material taken from older stage productions, and some more contemporary pop songs of the time. It’s clear from the performances, and from the audience’s reactions, that Liza’s magic was much more magical when she stuck to what she was best at: theatre. The pop songs, while certainly excellent, somehow lack consistency in terms of that patented Liza sparkle.
Still, it’s a small gripe in the context of a set of songs that will certainly please even the pickiest Liza fan. This is not just a set for the esoteric collector, this is essential listening, and it’s Liza shining in a way that was beyond even her normal stratospheric level of wow factor. The only thing that would make this set better would be a time travel device that could take the listener back to see the actual live show. Until that happens, this set of recordings will certainly do.
2. If You Could Read My Mind/Come Back To Me
3. Shine On, Harvest Moon
4. Exactly Like Me
5. The Circle
6. More Than You Know
7. I’m One of the Smart Ones
8. Natural Man
9. I Can See Clearly Now
10. And I In My Chair (Et Moi Dans Mon Coin)
11. There Is a Time (Le Temps)
12. Quiet Thing
13. Anywhere You Are/I Believe You
15. You and I
16. It Had to Be You
17. My Shining Hour