The Voice

 

 
 

EDER-tors’ Note: Linda Eder’s eagerly anticipated run at 54 Below in New York City began on the evening of April 10, 2013, and what a run it was! The intimate and charming nightclub setting proved to be an ideal venue for Linda’s latest show, “A Walk Down Memory Lane.” She mixed some familiar and fan favorite selections among the songs that played a significant and meaningful part in her career from the time she was a teenager back in Minnesota. This show gave Linda the opportunity to share some stories about how the songs were important to her and her career, and she always has such an endearing way of giving the audience a glimpse into her life both past and present. It goes without saying that the enthusiastic audience members loved every moment they spent with Linda at her 54 Below debut. A special “thank you” to the fans who took the time to share their stories and photos from 54 Below… Lynn Adler, Richard Aleckzandar, Trish Burns, Gerry Cardwell, Margaret Eckhardt, Carole Murphy, Joe Robinson, Mark Russell, Vinnie Russo, and Maureen Stewart.

 

Lynn Adler from New York writes…

It began with the maitre d’ asking if we'd rather sit further or nearer to the stage. Let's think! We were then ushered to the second seats at one of several long communal tables jutting out from the stage, which were surrounded by tables for four and just inches from the stage in this gorgeous supper club. Dinner was top-notch, as was the company, including a vacationing couple who knew little about Linda but wanted to check out 54 Below. We were almost as excited on their behalf to experience a Linda Eder concert for the first time, as we were about seeing Linda in this new venue to us and sitting closer than ever before as my early birthday treat. 

The woman who first waited on our table said she had seen Linda for the first time ever here two nights earlier, and was "blown away, completely blown away." 

Linda said this type of cabaret room leads her to come up with a theme, this time stringing together songs and vignettes marking significant personal milestones. 

The show began with “Through the Eyes of Love” (from Star Search competition, in which it took Ed McMahon many shows to get Linda's name and home town correct); and included “I'm Not Lisa” (which Linda used to get to sing as a kid with a band at her dad's restaurant, in a brief break from waiting tables); an audience sing-along to ABBA's “Fernando,” and a version of “Don't Cry for Me Argentina” (Linda recently took her dad to see the Evita remake on Broadway) that brought the rapt audience to its feet.

In introducing “More Than Heaven,” Linda spoke about the seemingly intensified series of disastrous events that have been shifting our literal and emotional ground. The song was earlier dedicated to those in the path of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, but has widened over the past year and a half that included -- just in the Northeast -- two extremely unusual and devastating hurricanes and Newtown's school shootings. Like clockwork, three days after this concert, our underpinnings were jarred again by the Boston marathon bombings. This all serves as a reminder to grasp the fun times and hug the dog and family.

And back to the fun, the “eight foot tall” Linda also sang “Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long” (written by Milton Berle and often attached to Barbra Streisand) and “Climb Every Mountain” (which she sang when the feuding high school drama and choral teachers combined to produce the low-budget Sound of Music, in which Linda said she wrapped a towel on her head to play the Reverend Mother). Linda also shared “Stormy Weather” “Charades,” “Mad Hatter,” “Someone Like You,” “I'm Always Chasing Rainbows/Over the Rainbow.”

There were bits of opera as well as long-held notes. One audience member was compelled to shout out “Marone” - defined by the Urban Dictionary as “Holy Smokes” - mid-song. Thank-yous also to Billy Stein, Peter Calo and David Finck for the beautiful sounds. A unique, wonderful and uplifting evening. As the Linda newbies seated next to me exclaimed, “Phenomenal, phenomenal.”

Photo courtesy of Trish Burns

 

Richard Aleckzandar from New York writes…

As a longtime fan of Linda’s, I was more than thrilled she was booked into the charming cabaret venue 54 Below. The venue housed below the infamous Studio 54 in the heart of New York’s theater district was a perfect place for Linda to bring her stunning vocals back to the city that gave her career a start. The small stage and beautiful Greco-Roman decorations bring the sense of theatricality to the venue. The stage, being so small, also made me feel I was part of the experience of the show, seeing as I was only four feet from Linda herself! There is nothing more exciting than being in an intimate venue where you can really make a connection with the audience; Linda, who is no stranger to the venues of Broadway and New York, arrived promptly at 8:30 p.m. and gave a moving, powerful and inspiring performance that was centered on the songs that have shaped her career. 

Her concert, affectionately called “Memory Lane,” was a dazzlingly eclectic evening of jazz, show tunes, pop, and rousing anthems, for which she is known. I watched in awe of her comfort and intimacy with her audience. She told stories of the beginning, middle, and the more recent moments in her career that stood out to her as points that shaped or served her in one way or another. Some stories were funny and contained anecdotes of humor. Linda remembered being the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, being on Star Search, and performing at her father’s restaurant/nightclub as a teenager. She sang about her path to success with Frank Wildhorn and also reflected on the memories of her show on Animal Planet, “Trail Mix.” Other songs were of her relationship to music and the gift she possesses and how she came to find herself a professional singer.

She began the evening with songs from the early part of her career, many that were pop songs and standards that captivated the audience. At one point, I looked around to see the audience and much like me, the entire room was wide eyed and amazed that this singer, who now has over three decades of time in front of crowds, could still be intimate while “bringing down the house” with her impressive range and wonderful empathy for each piece of music she performed.

She referenced both professional and personal memories that stuck out in her mind and songs that went with these memories. Many of the songs she picked were songs I as a fan had known her to sing, and she was by no means a letdown. With beautifully soaring legit notes of her breathtaking soprano and powerful velvet sounds of her impressive belt, she weaved in and out of times and genres to give a lifelong fan an evening of magic and inspiration to continue to work hard and strive for the grace and success she has.


Photo courtesy of Gerry Cardwell

Margaret Eckhardt from New York writes…

Linda Eder’s show at 54 Below was the best cabaret show I have ever seen, and living so close to New York City has enabled me to see many of this kind of show. Linda exuded warmth from the stage that I thought was wonderful. You could tell that she really loved being up there and entertaining her audience.

Linda told us that she was supposed to have a theme for her show, so she decided she would make it like a walk down memory lane. She decided that it would be fun to sing songs that were important in her career from the time she was a teenager. “I’m Not Lisa” is a beautiful song that Linda used to sing in her father’s restaurant where she said she had her first “real job,” washing dishes. Her father would let her take her apron off and come out and sing one song. He would watch her like a very proud father. Linda appeared to be very emotional during this number. Of course, Linda sang the song from when she won Star Search, “Through the Eyes of Love.”

Linda’s beautiful voice was never more perfect for me as when she sang those high notes, especially on “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Evita and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music. Evita was the first Broadway show she ever saw even though she saw it in Minnesota and not on Broadway, and she told us how she wanted to be Maria in The Sound of Music but was too tall for that part. She was Mother Abbess instead!

I loved all the songs Linda performed, even though I didn’t mention them all here. She had fun up there, and so we in the audience had fun too and never wanted it to end. For me, it didn’t end. I took all that she gave of herself through emotion and connection to what she was singing with me as I left 54 Below on that night. That will sustain me until the next time I see Linda.



Carole Murphy from Pennsylvania writes…

Linda, I want to thank you for the wonderful evening I spent seeing you perform at 54 Below on April 12th. It was my first time seeing you perform live, but it won’t be my last, that’s for sure. I had seen you when you were touring in Jekyll & Hyde many years ago, but I never saw your concert.

I really enjoyed the songs you sang, especially “Someone Like You,” “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Through the Eyes of Love,” “Man of La Mancha,” and “Fernando.” We had fun singing along with that one!

The band was just great too! It looked like all of you were having a great up on the stage, and we were having an even greater time out in the audience. I can’t wait until the next time I can see you in person. Nobody can sing like you!


Photo courtesy of Gerry Cardwell

Joe Robinson from New York writes…

My disappointment upon learning that Linda was ill and had to cancel her shows at 54 Below this past winter was turned into excitement when I learned that she would be coming there in April. If there was a trace of disappointment left in me, it totally disappeared the minute Linda walked on stage. She didn’t even have to sing the first note of the first song before I was in music heaven and looking forward to going on this journey down “memory lane” with her.

Linda opened with “I Will Wait for You.” The next song began the trip down “memory lane.” Most people in the audience knew what the next song would be from just the first few notes played on the piano. “Through the Eyes of Love” brought Linda to time she won Star Search, and hearing this song allowed the audience to go back to that wonderful time right along with Linda.

After “Stormy Weather” and “The Mad Hatter,” Linda returned to the time when she was a teenager singing in her father’s restaurant in Minnesota. She would always sing “I’m Not Lisa,” and her father would watch her proud as a peacock! Linda then came alive with “Sam You Made the Pants Too Long,” such a fun song. I sure wish she liked to dance!

Linda returned to her more serious side with the most beautiful performance of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina that I ever heard. Every note was shear perfection! This was followed by two fun songs more on the lighter side, “Fernando” and “Charade.”

Next came the beautiful “More Than Heaven,” which Linda dedicated to all the people suffering in the world. There is nothing you can say about “Someone Like You” except that it “is” Linda at her best. I was not prepared for “Climb Every Mountain” or I would have held on tight to my seat! Linda completely blew me away with that song!

I was thrilled that Linda chose to close the show with “Man of La Mancha” because that has always been a favorite of mine. And the encore… it couldn’t have been more perfect or more beautiful. Linda said “goodnight” to us with “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows/Over the Rainbow.”

Goodnight, Linda, and thank you for another wonderful memory.

 

Mark Russell from New York writes…

I consider myself to be one very lucky guy because I was able to spend my birthday with my best friend and with Linda Eder. We attended her show at 54 Below and I was honored when I was asked if I would like to write a review for her newsletter. Well, I was honored at the thought, but then I realized that I’m not a very good writer. What had I gotten myself into by agreeing to do this? I wasn’t quite sure, but I decided to give it a try.

What I thought would be easy is writing about Linda’s voice. I thought it was going to be easy, but every adjective I could come up with didn’t seem to be great enough. Linda’s voice probably defies description, but let me say it is tender, strong, smooth as velvet, and even angelic like at times. The way she caresses the lyrics with perfect pitch on such beautiful songs as “Through the Eyes of Love,” “Climb Every Mountain,” “Someone Like You,” and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” is incomparable in my eyes.

To sum it up, Linda’s show at 54 Below was the greatest night of beautiful music I have ever been privileged to witness.



Vinnie Russo from New York writes…

I was so excited when the day finally came when I was going to see Linda Eder at 54 Below! I was away on business the first time she was scheduled to be there, so I was not as disappointed as most people. When her shows were rescheduled, I was thrilled that I was going to be able to attend this time.

Linda Eder did not disappoint on the evening of April 13, 2013. But does she ever disappoint? Never! She gives her all out there on the stage as she connects with her audience and becomes one with each melody and lyric. You can feel everything that she is feeling as her voice caresses the songs she sings.

This evening was filled with a wonderful variety of songs. I have to say I always love it when Linda has fun with the song she is singing, so I really enjoyed “Sam You Made the Pants Too Long” and “The Mad Hatter” from Wonderland. The notes she hit while singing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Don’t Cry for me Argentina,” and “Through the Eyes of Love” were glorious. If I closed my eyes, I would have thought it was an angel singing. Of course, her encore of “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows/Over the Rainbow” is always sheer perfection.

All in all, I loved Linda’s show as she took us down memory lane with songs that were and are important in her career. Bravo, Linda!

 

Maureen Stewart from New York writes…

Photo courtesy of Maureen Stewart

If I told you that Linda’s show at 54 Below was a very intimate evening, you wouldn’t be surprised. After all, it is a supper club with limited seating. But if you think that had anything to do with the intimacy, then clearly you weren’t there.

Linda introduced the show as a “walk down memory lane,” and in the hands of a lesser performer, that would most likely mean a “greatest hits” show. But in Linda’s hands, it was a drawing back of the curtain to see the girl behind the woman. To hear the songs that contributed to making her the world class performer she is today. To hear the stories of how those songs affected her and what they still mean to her now was just wonderful.

Linda started the show with “Through the Eyes of Love,” which brought you back immediately to the days of Star Search, especially after Linda did her impersonation of Ed McMahon mispronouncing her name. If you’ve seen Linda before, then you know one of her inspirations was Etta James, so “Stormy Weather” fit nicely as the next song in the show.

Then, however, came “The Mad Hatter,” which seemed out of place at this point in the show. Clearly a tip of the hat (pun intended) to one of the biggest influences of Linda’s musical career; but in this slot in the show’s line-up perhaps “Next Time I Love” or “Even No” would have would have been a better fit. 

Well, if Linda meandered off memory lane, she didn’t stray far. We were brought right back to Minnesota when she told us about being 16 years old and singing in her family’s restaurant. She would be washing dishes in the kitchen and take off her apron to come out and sing Jessi Colter’s “I’m not Lisa.” I have never seen a performer so capable of painting you a picture of her past where you feel as if you are sitting and watching her younger self perform. She continued that with a very funny story about her and a friend from choir. She would perform with him, and once he started off “Sam You Made the Pants too Long” five keys too high, and she had to make the best of it. Rest assured, Billy Stein played the song in the right key! Linda posted just before the show that she was nervous, and this funky little number seemed to do the trick loosening her up. She even almost attempted a soft shoe… well, she would have if she did one that is.

The highlight of the night for me came next. Linda sang “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Evita, the first play she had ever seen; a so far “off Broadway” production that it was in Minnesota. She described the impact that it had on her and how much it meant to her when she went to see it last year on Broadway with her Dad. As she sang, you could imagine that she was back in her childhood bedroom, standing in front of the mirror, recreating what she had just seen on stage.

Next up was Abba’s “Fernando.” No, that’s not a misprint… you read it correctly… “Fernando.”  I’ve never seen Linda have so much fun with a song and for that matter, the audience as well, as she encouraged us all to sing along. As if this group needed much encouragement! Next came a few of her standard numbers, “Charade,” “More than Heaven” and “Someone Like You.”  Actually, I have to take that back. There was nothing standard about them. “More than Heaven” was simply beautiful and for as many times as I have heard “Someone Like You,” there was something about it tonight that set it apart from all other performances. It was the best I’ve heard.

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota… Linda told us how she wanted to play Maria in her school’s version of The Sound of Music but she didn’t get the part.  Instead, she played the Mother Abbess. At the mention of The Sound of Music, I assumed “Edelweiss” was next up, but she surprised everyone with a stirring rendition of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” Unfortunately, you knew the night was coming to a close when Linda performed a personal (and apparent audience) favorite, “Man of La Mancha.”

For her encore, Linda stuck with her new standard closing song “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows/Over the Rainbow,” paying homage to Judy Garland when she said without her and this song she wouldn’t be where she is today.

As usual, it was a great night. The venue was beautiful and Linda sounded and looked fabulous!

 

Linda and her band (Peter Calo, Billy Stein and Dave Finck)
... they really do love each other!


A View from the "Front Row" ...





THE VOICE wants YOU!
Are you attending an upcoming Linda Eder concert? Would you like to be a guest reviewer? E-mail us at thevoice@lindaeder.com

 

(c)2013 Linda Eder