In concert: Norah Jones at Warner Theatre
By Chris Klimek
So your problem with Norah Jones is what, exactly? Do you hate her because she's beautiful? Because your mom likes her records? Because people have bought 35 million of them? Do you find it disrespectful to the honored dead that she sings like Dusty Springfield, even if that means her singing is lovely? Do those lulling, breathy pipes make it hard to tell, even after four studio albums, if she's a good songwriter? Do you wish Ravi Shankar was your dad instead of hers?
Get over it. Or don't. On the evidence of the latte chanteuse's pleasant if not revelatory 90-minute set at the Warner Theatre on Friday night, it don't make no nevermind to her. Ease is her thing, not exertion. Jones was poised and upbeat performing her mostly downbeat love songs, particularly those from last fall's "The Fall," her first album since she and former co-writer/bassist/paramour Lee Alexander broke up.
(No surprises necessary, plus more pictures after the jump.)
She was backed by a new five-piece band that included guitarist/percussionist Sasha Dobson (a torch singer in the Jones mold, she opened the show) and the great session guitarist Smokey Hormel.
It's a half-stab at a more adventurous sound for a genuinely curious artist who has plenty of commercial incentive not to change a thing, but the material that sounded best onstage stuck to Jones's established strengths: gentle country and gentle jazz. "Tell Your Mama" had a simmering Tennessee Two-swagger, and her seasick take of "Sinkin' Soon" recalled Tom Waits in the best way.
"Don't Know Why" was beautifully rendered by Jones and Dobson alone. A huddled-around-one-mike cover of the Kinks' "Strangers" was a trick good enough to repeat, so she did in her encore, getting cozy with Hormel and Dobson for ramshackle takes of "How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart" and "Creepin' In."
April 5, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories: In concert | Tags: Norah Jones
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