Words by: Eamon Foley :: Images by: Tim McDonald
Madeleine Peyroux :: 06.16.07 :: Beacon Theatre :: New York, NY
During the heart of festival season, away from the hordes of the great unwashed, Madeleine Peyroux performed at New York's historical Beacon Theatre. Joining sophisticated New Yorkers in such a grand setting, I could not have been more removed from the overflowing toilets and manic dashes across fields to catch the next must-see band.
| Madeleine Peyroux :: 06.16.07|
Normally, the interaction between a crowd and a performer is a key element of a good show, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was missing here. While this audience wasn't the most animated, it responded enthusiastically, in a reserved way, to Peyroux and her band's jazzy meanderings.
Peyroux's confidence was evident from the moment she sauntered on stage and her easy, jokey manner quickly won us over as she performed her own numbers and an interesting array of covers by the likes of Randy Newman and Hank Williams. Comfortable in her talents, she is unafraid of the inevitable comparisons, or even possible criticisms, when covering something like Tom Waits' "Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night." Hers is a voice utterly opposite to Waits' gravelly timbre and once her mellow take added her svelte vocals the result was akin to an original.
Her compositions are far from lackluster, too, intriguing enough to make one want to hear more. This night she seemed to delight in a cheery version of "I'm All Right," a breakup song from her latest album Half the Perfect World. Other highlights included "Dance Me to the End of Love," a melt-in-your-mouth Leonard Cohen song, and a sterling version of Randy Newman's "I Think It's Going To Rain Today."
| Madeleine Peyroux :: 06.16|
The 80-year old art deco venue provided a fitting setting for Peyroux to show off her dreamy delights. The acoustics are superb, akin to wearing top quality headphones. In a venue resplendent with ornate balconies and aging, colorful paintings, Peyroux's laidback presence was enchanting. So much so that the huge, black-draped stage area seemed to melt and compress around her.
It felt great to be shut away from the madness of New York City, the Beacon cocoon protecting us from the din outside. This chanteuse's chilled style was utterly refreshing and relaxing, her voice a spouting fire hydrant in the middle of a hot, humid New York street. She is both graceful and gracious, giving her band regular well-received turns in the spotlight, stepping to the side at one point to watch an extended jam.
After a short encore, we strolled back out to the siren filled rush of Gotham. Upon reflection there wasn't a whole lot of movement during the show but Peyroux's poise was strangely energizing. There were no beers being thrown, no crowd surfing, no diving through mud – the rowdiest the crowd got was the occasional polite smattering of applause when they recognized a song. Reclining in a soft seat with copious leg room will do that to you.
JamBase | New York
Go See Live Music!