|Harry Connick, Jr. - Only You: In Concert|
|Written by Jeff Fish|
|Tuesday, 02 November 2004|
Harry Connick, Jr. has made a career out of reviving the lost art of class. I mean, who else can you compare Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin without being laughed out of the room? While watching this DVD, my wife came up with two words to describe Connick’s music and voice: smooth and buttery. I can’t think of two better words to describe this DVD, either. Not having been very familiar with his music previously, I always had the thought of Harry Connick, Jr. as a piano player first and foremost. But my impression now is that he is a first-class band leader, a great vocalist, a world-class pianist and a topnotch showman. His band is full of great musicians who are very well-rehearsed and definitely know who the people are coming to see.
This DVD presents a very classy concert, filmed in an absolutely beautiful hall for a crowd that was definitely into his music. The show starts off a little slow for my tastes, but this is a different beast than I’m used to. This isn’t about being the fastest or loudest, this is about taste and class. Here’s to bringing a little dignity to the proceedings! My only real complaint about this DVD is that I wish it was edited a little more tightly. Some time dragged a little bit between songs. I know that in a live concert, this can be a nice break, but while watching a DVD at home, I didn’t need all the breaks for stories in between pretty much all the songs, but this is really a small complaint. That is what the bonus material is for. The first three songs on this DVD were from Connick’s latest studio release “Only You.” Nice songs, but not what I was really expecting, considering I always thought of him a piano player first and foremost.
Connick’s voice is just something that you really don’t hear too much anymore; there is no effort at all to his singing. His voice is this soothing wash that comes out of the speakers and totally grabs your attention. And then we get to the fourth song, “It Might as Well Be Spring.” Wow! This song starts out with just Connick on piano, a drummer and a bassist playing this jazz that is time signature hell. It totally blew my socks off watching the interplay of these musicians. This is what I was expecting to see from the beginning, but this is also why Connick is where he is. He knows how to work the crowd as well as paying homage to the very genre in which he plays. He has the right amount of tension and release. By this, I mean that is that Connick can blow away the crowd at any moment with flashes of brilliance on the piano (which he does throughout this concert), but he always brings them back with his voice. You can also tell watching this video that he truly respects the musicians he plays with and they truly respect him back. There’s no grandstanding, no solos just for a solo’s sake. The songs have meaning and the concert has a pace: a very nice change of pace indeed. And you don’t need to be 70 years old to get into this DVD, either. The music is timeless and it’s timeless for a reason. These are great songs done by very talented people. If you like good music, you’ll like this DVD.
Visually, this DVD is very well shot and very well recorded. Connick’s voice and band fill the room, capturing you in a time warp and taking you back to when Frank, Dino, Sammy and the rest of the Rat Packers were at the top of the entertainment heap. The show was filmed at The Theatre Capitole in Quebec City and it’s an absolutely beautiful theatre. They definitely picked the right venue for filming a concert, which really helps with the visuals. It also tells you a little about what Connick’s trying to get across with his music, class and elegance. His stage set-up reminds me of what you would have seen for the Bennie Goodman or Tommy Dorsey Orchestras. One thing I really like about this disc (being a musician myself) is that Connick has no problem with sharing the spotlight with his musicians. All the musicians in his band get their due when appropriate, again just like the days of yore, when being a musician was a truly respected profession. If you’re into vocalists or a big band jazz fan, this is a release for you. And as my wife brought to my attention, if you’re a woman who basically just likes looking at Harry Connick, Jr., then this release is definitely for you. Well shot and recorded, with some great tunes, what’s not to like?