Monday, December 20, 2010

In Love With Love

Had a nice four-day weekend, capped off with seeing the ageless Darlene Love in concert on Sunday night at B.B. King's in Times Square. Riding high on her impending induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Darlene was in fine form at her annual Christmas spectacular, surrounding herself with a virtual Wall of Sound -- 11 band members and backup singers -- as she belted out her classic songs from the famed Phil Spector Christmas album, "Marshmallow World," "Winter Wonderland," "White Christmas" (which she recently performed at the White House) and, what has become her signature song, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," which she will perform on David Letterman this Thursday, a tradition dating back to 1986.

While most singers lose their range as they get older, Darlene -- a deeply spiritual woman, as evidenced by her opening number "Please Be Patient With Me" -- has miraculously expanded hers at the ripe old age of 72, not only hitting all the old notes but adding a few new ones, too.

Highlights of the evening included "He's a Rebel," her No. 1 hit that started it all but was cruelly credited to the Crystals, "Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home" (her biggest credited hit), and "(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry" (my personal favorite). As she did in her "Portrait of a Singer" show at the Bottom Line back in the 1990s, she also hinted at other "could've been" and "might-have-been" moments in her career, singing "Da Do Run Run Run" -- the Crystals smash she ended up singing backup on but reportedly sang lead on until Spector replaced her voice with La La Brooks' -- and "River Deep, Mountain High," which later went to Tina Turner. (Darlene also recorded "Going to the Chapel" first, only to see the Dixie Cups' version rocket up the charts.)

She also did "Don't Make Me Over," a song she sang backup on for her friend Dionne Warwick, and you couldn't help but feel like -- like most songs she sings -- it was hers all along.

Afterward, Darlene graciously met with a huge line of fans -- one by one -- backstage and signed autographs and posed for photos. While waiting, Michael and I befriend a fun woman named JoAnne Leff, who says she was the voice behind "Veronica" in the recordings by The Archies ("Sugar, Sugar") back in the day. We were having so much fun -- she was rather animated -- that we decided to meet Darlene as "mother and sons," a sentiment Darlene clearly appreciated as we learned one of her backup singers was in fact her son.

Look for Ms. Love on Letterman this Thursday. It's definitely not Christmas until she sings for Dave, but after Sunday night in Times Square, it's beginning to feel a lot (more) like Christmas, everywhere I go.


Joseph said...

Love Darlene she is the Best!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Michael.

nojarama said...

To say that I'm jealous is an understatement. Glad you FINALLY got to see her show (and meet her)!!!

Anonymous said...

Saw her in HAIRSPRAY on Broadway - what a treat for this tourist!!

Johnny Diaz said...

I love this sweet tribute to DLove.
And you got to go backstage and meet her in person on top of that!
I need a Kinthe212 press pass.