The Voice

EDER-tors' Note: February 2013 saw Linda on the road where she delighted audiences with her perfect choice of songs and amazing delivery of each and every selection. Her West Coast trip brought with it an unusual ending, but it also brought with it the Linda Eder her fans know and love… a real person on every level… a person dedicated to her audiences… a person with sincerity and kindness… and a person who is a real trooper under difficult conditions. We hope you’ll enjoy reading reviews of these shows by fans lucky enough to have been in the audience in February to experience “The Voice.” We’d like to express a special thank you to Joan Converse, Lauryn Stewart, Deb Thornton, and Cathy Burtis for their wonderful words and photos.

Joan Converse from Arizona writes…

I was so excited when I first heard that Linda would be playing in Cleveland. My parents were born and raised just South of Cleveland and most of my extended family still lives there today. So I couldn't wait for the great occasion to go visit family and share my favorite singer with them! Besides my mom and me, only my mom's twin sister and her husband had ever seen Linda perform. So, I bought ten tickets to bring my other aunts and a few cousins, too. Let the Eder magic begin!

Linda opened with “I Will Wait For You.” Automatic WOW factor when she held the IF note for an eternity! Whooping and hollering 10 seconds into the show! Linda followed with some great familiar songs… “Stormy Weather,” “Crazy,” “Blue Skies.” I knew my aunts would be in Heaven! Imagine my surprise when my cousin exclaimed that although she liked all the standards, her favorites from the show were Linda's rendition of Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do” and “The Mad Hatter!” She stated, "I would love to see that musical if Linda Eder would play that role! She is something else with that song!"

My favorite moment from this concert was when Linda sang “More Than Heaven.” She delivered her typical intro to it by saying how these last couple of years have been one event after another… but she really dedicated it to those who have experienced such tragic loss in the most recent past. As Linda sang each word, I couldn't help but envision those young children from Sandy Hook and the 8 month old baby that my friend just lost last week. But then reflecting a sensitivity that only Linda has, she paired that song and all the emotions that it created with “A New Life.” Reminding us that somehow we survive the demons that pass our way… and as we must take in a fresh breath of air to continue on, we wake up to a brand new dawn. Despite the hurt and grief experienced, each new day is an opportunity for hope and healing and endless possibilities to make a difference. A brand new life!

Towards the end of the evening, Linda did relay a happy ending story. She explained how her brother's dog had been lost in Minnesota for 5 days. Short coated dog in freezing temperatures! But luckily, he survived and was found and returned to Linda's brother. She said it was the best birthday news ever but quickly added, "My brother vowed to get Rex neutered the very next day!" As the audience chuckled, my aunt leaned over and said, "Now, that'll teach him!"

We all did get to sing Happy Birthday to Linda! Eden and Deena started us off and Billy joined in on the piano! The Cleveland crowd sounded pretty darn harmonious!  Linda thanked us by delivering her signature encore of “Over the Rainbow.” A perfect end to the introductory concert for my family! Something tells me it won't be their last!


Lauryn Stewart from California writes…

VALENTINE’S DAY WITH LINDA EDER

The venue
Fan Lauryn Stewart meets with Linda after the show
(photos courtesy of Lauryn)

Every time I see Linda Eder, it always feels like the first time. I get really jittery and always nervous for some reason. I guess this is because I have the utmost respect for her and her voice. She is my biggest inspiration in life and when I sing. This is the first time in almost 2 years that I would be seeing Linda again. I was so glad that The Grove in Anaheim was so close. I had school that Thursday night and it was Valentine’s Day, which my fiancé was not too thrilled about. I always enjoy going to Linda’s shows, but most of all I love going with my Mom. She picked me up from school, which was a little embarrassing since I am in college, and we rushed off to The Grove. I had to change in the car, needed to dress to impress. It’s not easy stepping into a concert hall where the vast majority of the audience is a lot older than you. Mom and I met up with our long time Linda friend Janna Koch. Turns out we were in the same section. Mom and I were sitting in the front row on the isle and Janna in row D. This was my first show where I had tickets in the front row, and I was totally excited!

The show started at 8:00. The lights went down and the announcer called out to us, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Linda Eder.” The audience roared as Linda gracefully took the stage, picked up her microphone and began to sing. She was wearing all black, her shirt was kind of a wrap held in place by a glittery pin. She had a beautiful necklace and bracelet on as well. You would think with Linda being so tall she would not need heals, but she rocked a very cool pair of them onstage and she was so graceful in them. After a few songs, Linda introduced herself. She said, “Hello, I’m Linda Eder and I’m a singer. If this is not what you were expecting, then I am sorry.” We all started laughing. One would think that Linda is pretty serious onstage and during her shows, but she is quite the opposite, telling jokes and making funny faces at her band. I love hearing her stories! The title of Linda’s tour was Songbirds, where she learned songs of some of the great iconic women like Patsy Cline, Judy Garland and yes, Barbra Streisand. She talked about how she stopped singing Barbra’s songs because of the critics calling her a wannabe, to which Linda replied, “Who wouldn’t want to be Barbra Streisand!”

Linda did some dancing for us during “Walking After Midnight,” originally sung by Patsy Cline. She mentioned that she would do a soft shoe during the musical piece and proceeded to do a few steps. Linda laughed and said she was not what they called a “triple threat.” She played around with notes during a lot of the songs too. During the song “On The Street Where You Live,” she would hold certain notes while her band was doing their solos. Her lungs have to be the size of Texas; she can hold notes for so long! It is always good to hear the songs from Jekyll & Hyde, except this time she added a new one. She did sing “Someone Like You,” but she also sang “A New Life.” This was amazing to hear. I was only 9 when the show no longer had Linda in it. Hearing her sing the songs in concert is the only way I get to hear her perform them live. Linda also took on songs of Adele, which she knocked out of the water! She sang “Rolling In The Deep” and “Someone Like You.”

Before every concert, Janna and I put our quarters on the stage to support the charity Pets Alive. It never fails that someone asks us why we are doing it. I love to tell the story, but no one tells it like Linda. After singing the Adele songs, Linda told this story. She said that during one of her shows a long time ago, she saw a quarter on the stage during her warm up and thought it was kind of annoying. She forgot to pick it up and saw it again during the actual show. She said she bent down in her dress and tried to pick it up. Well, the quarter was nailed to the stage and put there to mark center stage. The next time Linda did a show there were quarters on the stage. They kept appearing and appearing at every show. Linda and her team decided to donate all of the quarters to the charity Pets Alive, which helps take care of horses and other homeless animals. To this day, Linda fans have raised over $35,000.

Our world has been through so much in the past years with Hurricane Sandy devastating so many people and, of course, the Sandy Hook shootings. Linda took time to talk about this and followed by singing the song “More Than Heaven.” That part of the show really hit home for me and many people in the audience. I heard a few sniffles from behind me. She knocked us out of our seats on “Man of La Mancha,” but the show was coming to a close. Linda did this with “Over The Rainbow,” originally by Judy Garland. Linda mentioned that she chooses this song to close because she is not able to sing anything after it. You could hear a pin drop while she was singing this song. Linda made it through and left the stage to a standing ovation.

After the show concluded, my mom and I were able to meet Linda with a few other excited fans. She is always so down to earth and so sweet. I took a few pictures and then it was time to leave. I always leave knowing why Linda Eder is my favorite singer in the world. She is so humble, down to earth, always makes time for her fans, and has a voice of an angel. I’ll never know why she is not more famous than she is, but in a way we like it because instead of having a million “sort of” fans, she has true fans.

We love you, Linda. I truly hope you are feeling better! Until next time…

SET LIST
“I Will Wait For You”
“Blue Skies”
“At Last”
“The Mad Hatter”
“The Summer Knows”
“Now”
“Stormy Weather”
“Crazy/Walking After Midnight”
“On The Street Where You Live”
“Anthem”
“Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”
“Someone Like You” (Jekyll & Hyde)
“Waiting For The Fall”
“Falling Slowly”
“Charade”
“Someone Like You/Rolling In The Deep” (Adele)
“More Than Heaven”
“A New Life”
“Man Of La Mancha”
“Over The Rainbow”


Deb Thornton from Utah writes…

Linda on stage at Yoshi's
(photo courtesy of Deb)

Imagine getting on a plane in 24-degree weather, which seems balmy after weeks of single-digit temps. The cold air is stagnant, trapped beneath a desert-sized layer of warm air, collects car exhaust, manufacturing and refinery exhaust; lungs can sustain permanent damage from the particulates. Step out of icy sludge into spring on the west coast with sea breezes, the blue sky, plants blooming. The day delivered on spring’s promise of rebirth and renewal. Any day of Linda Eder live is a good day, but two shows in one day is a rare treat. Two shows in San Francisco is a slice of paradise.

After a day of sunny anticipation and sushi at Yoshi’s, the first show—the one with the sober audience—began. I was pleased and hopeful to see David’s basses; Peter had brought only an acoustic guitar; Jerry and Billy had their usual arrays. Billy looked unwell and the band’s start was a bit sluggish. Linda was radiant and poised, gracious, serious, funny; I love it that her range as a human seems to match that of her voice. She hit the ground running with “If It Takes Forever,” the gorgeous notes at the end soaring, strong and delicate, upward. Having recently watched her work masterfully around a cold at Beaver Creek, I could tell she was singing through some chest congestion.

Linda and Billy Stein on stage
(photo courtesy of Deb)

The weather report followed, “Blue Skies” and “Stormy Weather,” with a smoldering David Finck. The fourth song was a great treat, and Billy’s tantalizing improvisation behind her made me wonder if she was really going to do “The Summer Knows.” I had memorized every breath of it as a child, moving the needle back again and again on Barbra’s record, but Streisand’s voice has a coldish tone and lacks the rich thickness Eder has on her highest end; to hear the song rendered with both technical perfection and the exquisite warmth that permeates Eder’s voice is a rare treat. I would point to a part of Eder’s voice I adore, and it appears at the end; when she slides with infinite grace up the notes in “fo-or fall” (near the end of “Bridge over Troubled Water,” and “Falling Slowly,” for instance), my DNA rearranges itself. “Mad Hatter” was rendered with delicious, caramel like wickedness; she left everyone but Peter behind for a few seconds. “Crazy” and “Walking after Midnight” followed. In the instrumental bridge, she observed that she would dance here if she could—and in the second show she did a dozen or so quick steps, which were riotously funny.

Then it was time for some of her favorites. The duel with Peter in “On the Street Where You Live” left no one wondering about her lung capacity (and the possibility that she has a third one stashed neatly in the hollow of her thigh). She launched into “Anthem” from Chess, full blast at the end, as usual, and brought the audience to life. She returned to the Adele songs before “Falling Slowly” in its spare beauty flooded over us. The blitz of “Charade” brought the musicians to life.

She discussed the joy of raising her son and the Broadway tradeoff being there for him entailed, moving to a bit about how she found out that one of Jake’s new friends is the nephew of Renee Fleming. One could never tire of listening to Linda Eder sing “Someone Like You” because every time it is different from all the others, and the intensity of the song and its sentiments are that timeless blend of beauty and truth that Keats extolled. Not surprisingly, the audience rose to its feet at the end.

Linda pauses to tell a story
(photo courtesy of Deb)

One of the reasons I have traveled so much to see Linda in the last two years is because she is singing “More Than Heaven.” The song is a collective prayer, pristine and pure, and hearing it live is a profoundly spiritual experience every time for this rapt listener. If all life on this planet is truly one organism, that song captures the essence of what it is to be at once apart from and together with all of life. Personally, I miss my mother acutely when I hear that song, but I also allow myself a rare interval of feeling connected with her at the same time.

But Linda wasn’t done with the surprises. Soon she had launched into “A New Life.” Haven’t heard that live in forever, and it shone like a jewel in that spare musical setting; her voice overpowered the instruments-she had to do all the work that the orchestra usually does-and it was magical. It seemed that the last note would never end. She finished with “Man of La Mancha,” once again launching into the whistle and abruptly breaking it off to say “sing it with me” before going back into it. I felt bad for the folks who were leaving the venue and anticipated the second show.

The second set was different from the first in several ways: there was a spontaneous birthday for a major EDERFAN (yes, he had brought that license plate), and he received a rendition of “Happy Birthday.” If the first audience was a bit dullish, the second was lively and occasionally boorish, punctuated with slurry catcalls, a cell phone ringing, a Spanish lesson. But the band was sharper and far more energetic—the espresso set.

“The Summer Knows” and “A New Life” were absent. “Falling Slowly” benefitted from Billy’s grace notes, and the notes at the end raised the hair on the back of my neck. To hear “More Than Heaven” twice in one night seemed to bookend the interval spent earlier at Grace Cathedral. She concluded with “Man of La Mancha,” as in the first set, but came back for an encore. Ah, could we hope for it? We could.

Linda toasts the audience during her encore!
(photo courtesy of Deb)

Eder concerts are a guilty pleasure—and a solitary one, since the passing of my mother. But a friend and colleague heard I was going and wanted to come along because she loves San Francisco. She trooped up and down the hills intrepidly, torn ACL and all. She had never heard Linda’s voice, but she was up for both shows. Shortly into “Over the Rainbow,” there was an audible sob by my left ear, and I turned to see my friend’s tears. I didn’t know what emotional chord the song had stirred, but I thought it best to offer a shoulder for the duration.

I have long wondered what a live introduction to The Voice would be like. From my nearly speechless friend, I found out as we walked back to the Bart station, the same rare levity animating every cell from toe to head, dazzled by the gifts of the evening. “Man of La Mancha” is her father’s theme song, and “Over the Rainbow” was a childhood lullaby from her now-deceased mother. She raved as the blocks separated us from Yoshi’s. The next morning we flew back into the cold soup, and yesterday in the hall, she said, “I’m still riding it, my friend.” For a moment, it felt like spring again, saturated by "a ring of pure and endless light," as the poet said.

Cathy Burtis from California writes…

BRAVE

Linda and Fan Cathy Burtis
(photo courtesy of Cathy)

It is always the unexpected that catches us by surprise. We have certain expectations when we attend a live performance of a singer we know and love. We want to connect. We want to experience something extraordinary. We want to see beauty. If we do not know the singer, anything can happen. The first time is unwritten. Anything can happen and the unexpected did happen.

The McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California, is full, not a vacant seat as I look around. The time is near, the lights dim, the small band of four is seated, ready. Her piano player waits. The audience is silent. Announced, Linda Eder emerges. She is dressed in a black, long sleeve, fitted top and black pants to match. She is stunning. Her face glows, her eyes sparkle, her hair flows and shines; I notice her hands as she holds the microphone in motion.

To begin, she is the Linda Eder we expect. But the program will be a little different. She opens with a song I have not heard her sing. She is singing songs from a mix of different styles, “song birds,” iconic songs by various singers and composers. One fan next to me says, “I don’t care where I sit. Listening to Linda is all that matters.” But to see Linda is the end and all you need to know. You have to see her to experience something you’ve never had before.

Never mistake, it is Linda who gives these standards a new life. Her voice is powerful and controlled; pure, like silk, like velvet. You can cut it with a knife: it is so formed. No one can hold a note to infinity (or to tears) like she can. She animates the song, embraces it, knows what it means, and loses herself (or reveals herself) in its expression. In her face, in her eyes, you see her heart and soul and intelligence poured into the interpretation; what emerges is a joy in the singing. To see Linda live is to witness the merging of artist with music. She becomes the song. She brings us close to the magic of one.

She starts off the set with Michelle Legrand’s, “I Will Wait For You” made popular by Andy Williams, and from the film “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” sung in the film by Catherine Deneuve. Then Linda sings “Blue Skies.” After this song, she talks to the audience. She is real and easy and funny, sharing personal stories and elaborating on the program. “At Last” is next. A piano riff allows Linda to pause mid song. Then comes Barbra Streisand’s rendition of Michelle Legrand’s “Summer Knows” from the film “Summer of 42.” She expounds on the Broadway play, “Wonderland” by her ex-husband, Frank Wildhorn. It is never easy to get to or stay in the Broadway lights no matter how good the music. She sings “Mad Hatter” from that play. This is fun.

Next is Lena Horn’s “Stormy Weather” and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” Then she sings Cline’s “Walking After Midnight.” For this song, the lighting changes. Multiple spotlights from different and intersecting angles rain down on Linda, and she is showcased in a surreal, white light. When she finishes this song the lighting changes back to a blue hue. She faces the piano. Then something truly surreal and unexpected happens. She walks to the front of the stage.

Linda resets, not in song, and it happens so fast. She is crying. She acknowledges that she does get emotional. Linda’s fans know she carries her heart on her sleeve. But the audience doesn’t know what is happening. We are stunned into silence. Linda has been sick and now her voice is failing. She wanted to sing and thought she could get through the program as her voice warmed up. She realizes she cannot continue singing. Her voice will only get worse and suffer the strain. With this heart-stopping explanation come individual responses of concern from the audience.

In disbelief, I am reminded that something very special is happening, and it is not about us, the audience. It is not about me. It is about Linda and how she is feeling, how difficult it is for her. It is a heartbreaking decision no performer wants to make: to end the show. What struck me was her outpouring of emotion and the regret she felt at not being able to continue. She did not want to disappoint any of us who came to see her. But she clearly needed to protect her voice. She was expressing love for her fans.

All I can think and feel myself is how brave Linda is. She started the evening not knowing what to expect, and she gave it her all, not only as a consummate professional, but as the real Linda Eder for whom her performance and fans matter. It was brave for her to sing for us at all. It was brave for her to stop.

(photo courtesy of Cathy)

To experience Linda Eder gives a lasting impression. For me it is the aria in my life’s opera. We did hear her. We did see her. I think the audience will remember and appreciate what she did do, that she did sing to us at all. We will remember the whole story. And we will pass the word along how fortunate we are to know Linda. Listen to her music, listen for her return. Up close Linda is the same real person she presents on stage. Just so human. She is not unlike any of us. (She gets sick.) She is generous and kind and patient and very beautiful tonight.

I am sure everyone in the audience wishes her well and enjoyed what they experienced of her. I remember, in the beginning, “I will wait for you,” Linda sings, “If it takes forever, I will wait for you.” And, “For a thousand summers” I will wait with excitement and the anticipation of the unexpected to see her again.

Linda has once again shown us what a special person she is by promising to return to the McCallum in April to give us the performance we were all expecting on this night. I will once again be in the audience and report back after enjoying a full evening of Linda Eder.

With love, thank you Linda.

 

 

(c)2013 Linda Eder