Robert Theodore Burcaw Jr. | Winston-Salem, NC | 02/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased "Lizas at the Palace" knowing it was not recorded live, as most of Liza Minnelli's releases have been since, well, forever. I saw Lizas at the Palace on December 26; the CD was for sale in the lobby and the vendor told me it was the "original soundtrack recording." My disappointment then was knowing I couldn't have at least an audio of that thrilling live performance -- and it was thrilling --artfully designed, produced. Her homage to Kay Thompson captures a musical entertainment that is all but extinct. I loved the song selections, the movement, the band and the back up boys.
The good news is that to this listener, nothing of that thrill is lost in this studio recording, which may now stand on its own as a musical celebration of an artist, her history and her time for listeners to hear beyond the confines of one or two live performances.
I've heard and read the commentary about the state of Liza's voice, positive and negative. I hear it as it is, which has become a most revered and unique instrument capable of surprising, moving, and pulling at the heart strings. As a stylist, Liza Minnelli has no contemporary. On the first CD, her renditions of "What Makes a Man a Man" and "I Am My Own Best Friend" are wonderful little musical dramas, and her performance comes through clearly in the vocal renditions. The big band behind her is the BEST, and ultimately complements Liza and does not eclipse her. My 22 year old daughter commented on the the purity of its sound and how it breathes above the synthesized sound her generation. What a gift!
I'm sure Liza Minnelli could easily have released this as a live CD - and who knows, maybe in a few years there will be a "deluxe" version recorded live just for her rabidly loyal fans. But in releasing this studio recording, the listener is treated to something quite wonderful without the distractions of a live audience: a mature and disciplined Liza, a glimpse into the history of the big "club acts" from the 40s and 50s. Best of all, we get to hear Liza Minnelli, all out there, sounding better, stronger, wiser, and at just the right moments "thrilling." There's nothing like a Liza live performance, even a Liza concert recording. The brilliance of this CD is its focus on the voice of an era still grandly recognizable and worthy to be listed among the great legendary song stylists of the last 60 years. I hope this is not her last studio recording, as she seems to release one only every 10 - 15 years or so. But if it is, it ranks among her best.
If there is a live version of this, I'll pre-order it now. And if you do get a chance to see her live, go. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.
But for now, purchase Lizas at the Palace and be ready for a musical journey presented with the highest production values and an eclectic but wonderful selection of some never recorded material. And just to speak to the state of Liza's voice: If you are familiar with her recording of "Mammy" in the orginal recording of "Liza with a Z," Listen to the second last track on disc 2, close your eyes, and 35 years disappear. That girl can sure still sing!"
A few thoughts...
Michael Berkowitz | 02/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting to see the comments about this not being a live album. While Liza has Radio City, Carnegie Hall and Minnelli on Minnelli, all live performances, released, this is an in studio version of all the music that was in the show "Liza's At The Palace."
Original Cast albums of Broadway shows are traditionally recorded the day after the show's opening, all in one day, in a studio. Virtually no "Live Recordings" of Broadway Shows are ever released. And virtually none of those albums has all of the music of the show on it.
This album was done in order to have the show documented and available in the Theatre and not long after, in the stores. The decision to have an Original Cast Album in time for Opening Night, precluded recording the show as a Live event. There wasn't time or opportunity. Yes, Liza has been touring the past two years with a version of this show, but the final choice of material, running order and arrangements were not finalized until 2 weeks before the Broadway Opening.
That being said, I think the opportunity to record in a studio, work on balances, try things, make changes and then be able to mix all the elements into a two CD set, is pretty swell.
Nowhere is it being marketed as a live album. If you can show me that somewhere, I'll be the first to retract this sentence. When you see the Cast Album for South Pacific, Spamalot, Billy Elliot, Passing Strange, Young Frankenstein, etc., etc., you know it's a studio version of the show...not a live recording.
I think this is a wonderful account of the talent that is Liza Minnelli as well as the musicians who have traveled with her for many years.
Do we really need another studio version of Cabaret, NY NY , Maybe This Time... Well, other than the original versions on the Cast or Soundtrack albums, you don't have any. Now you do, at a time when Liza May sounds in control, on top of her game and with a new approach to material she has done for years and is still growing and changing and constantly rethinking.
Come on folks...When there's no more Liza, this type of performer exists no more. Let's all enjoy her Talent and hope she can continue to perform at a high level for many more years.
D.J.L | 02/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Liza's best CD yet, and deserves so much credit for it. The title of my review is "PERFECTION", and that is what this album is; Not a flaw on this album, nothing but major improvement shown by Liza.
Her album in 1999 "Minnelli On Minnelli" had only a few even likable tracks on it. Making it probably Liza's worst album of her career. Her next album in 2002, "Liza's Back" another live performance defiantly making the statement "Liza's Back" true. Providing us with some new tracks, such as "Don't Cry Out Loud", which was a little surprising at how well Liza can handle a modern pop song...And then seven years later came this album "Liza's at The Palace...!"; The best thing since her Radio City Music Hall album in 1991.
Liza's voice is indeed deeper, and much different than it was on her first album "Liza Liza!", but it still provides us with a WOW performance. Which leads me to wonder why even the littlest person interested in Theater would give this album a bad review.
My favorite tracks from this album would probably be "Teach Me Tonight", "I Would Never Leave You", "My Own Best Friend", "Basin' Street Blues", "Jubilee Time" and my favorite of all the songs "I Love a Violin". But basically every song on this album is captivating and unbelievable, not just because of all the stuff she's gone through, but because of her age! I hope I still have pitch at age 63!
Recommended for even the smallest theater fan."
Liza Still Has It
gassy goon | 03/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This new 2 CD set of Liza in the studio does sound great. The musicians playing with Liza sound fantastic. It's a large band that sounds tremendously alive and vibrant. It has the feel of being recorded live in the studio. Renowned Producer Phil Ramone has a long, long list of producing big albums, and working with Liza produced this album. Just the fact that he produced it makes you know that Liza was in the best of hands. I can't believe how some people have criticized this album and Liza so much. If you are a fan, you already know that her voice has aged somewhat, but she still has the energy that just does not stop. Her positivity & non-stop spirit are all over every song on this double set. It was a better idea to record it live in the studio, rather than a live performance at the Palace. Liza sounds really good, and the sound is just amazing. A real band, not computers or studio gimmicks and a real singer who can sing!
I enjoy the new material that is on here the most. It sounds a lot better too than seeing the show live, which I did when I saw Liza in Niagara Falls. The zest is still there. True, her voice isn't as high as it was in the 70's or 80's, but to expect that out of her is unrealistic. She still has the boundless energy to make music come alive, and make millions of people happy. It's a great collector's item that documents her latest extravaganza in the best possible way. The new takes on her classics aren't as fantastic as the originals, but it's Liza now, and that's quite an achievement.I like that the songs are faithful to the original arrangements. Liza didn't redo her classics as dance mixes. I give her a lot of credit for doing a new album for her show, and as ever, keeping on with her tremendous career. Never mind the naysayers I say. This double CD is worthy of owning, and hearing Liza at any time."
Wow! Exceeded my expectations
L. Petrella | San Francisco, CA USA | 03/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great 2-CD set of Liza Minnelli performing some of her signature songs as well as some new ones. I think she is the ultimate performer, but I wasn't quite sure what to expect after seeing her in the "Minnelli on Minnelli" show several years ago. Although still a fantastic performer, her voice had seemingly deteriorated dramatically from what it had been years prior in her concert recording from Radio City Music Hall in the early 90's. However, you won't believe how her voice has sprung back in this recording! Liza is indeed back, and in rare, exceptional form!"