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article imageReview: Judy Collins puts on magnificent show at The Paramount Special

By Markos Papadatos     Dec 22, 2013 in Entertainment
Huntington - On December 21, Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Judy Collins performed at The Paramount in Huntington, New York.
She played prior to Don McLean's set (who is best-known for "American Pie"), and she was accompanied by her musical director Russell Walden on piano.
As she walked onto the stage, Collins was greeted with a warm New York welcome. "Thank you so much," she said. "Welcome to The Paramount. Nowadays, I'm thrilled to be anywhere."
Accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she commenced her set with the stunning "Song for Judith (Open The Door)," which she wrote many years ago and it was recently featured in an episode of Girls on HBO.
"Thank you so much," Collins said graciously.
Collins continued with her Grammy-winning tune "Both Sides Now," which has become an American classic and she subsequently shared the story behind the song: Collins was asleep one morning in 1967, where at 3 a.m. she received a phone call about this song (penned by Joni Mitchell), and she joked that she has answered her phone ever since. "I wonder where you were when you first heard the song?" she asked the audience, prior to belting out a flawless rendition.
She then sang verses of an Irish tune a capella, which was a real treat for the crowd. "I am one quarter Irish, but it's a powerful gene," Collins stated.
It was followed by a mellifluous version of "Mountain Girl," as the Paramount stage was graced in red lights.
"We just came back from a trip to Ireland," the veteran singer-songwriter said, and she foreshadowed that she will have her own PBS special Judy Collins Sings the Songs of Ireland that will air in February of 2014, which she dubbed as a "great thrill."
Collins sang "Granddaddy" which she wrote about her Irish relatives, as blue and pink lights were alternating on the stage. Walden soared on backing vocals on this tune and it was a substantial indication that Collins is an exceptional song stylist.
"I love you guys," she told her fans after many of them screamed "I love you Judy" during her set. She thanked them for being faithful all of these decades, in support of her music.
She took her fans on a trip down memory lane to 1968, the year English folk singer-songwriter Sandy Denny released "Who Knows Where The Times Goes" and Collins delivered a controlled and hypnotic version of the tune that left many audience members breathless.
"Congratulations on this amazing new theater," Collins said complimenting The Paramount. "I don't think we've ever seen anything like this. The food is divine. Thank you."
She continued with "Coal Tattoo," which she described as a tune that deals with a subject that is close to her heart.
Collins paid tribute to Leonard Cohen by singing "Suzanne," which showcased her soothing and humming vocals, as the stage was graced in red and blue lights.
"Thank you so much," she said after taking a bow.
She changed the pace of her set with the upbeat "Someday Soon" and Collins praised Walden for his talents. "Ladies and gentlemen, the wonderful Russell Walden," she said.
Collins put the guitar on the side and Walden left the stage, as she played "Albatross" on the piano as a solo performer, and immediately broke into "New Moon" as the stage was decorated in orange and purple lights.
Her solo piano-driven ballads were well-received and garnered her a huge standing ovation. In return she blew kissed to the crowd. "Thank you so much," she said. "God Bless You."
Walden returned to the stage and played piano as Collins delivered a dynamic performance of her Grammy-winning tune "Send In The Clowns," which was a vocal highlight of the evening.
"Thank you. God Bless you for coming out tonight," the songstress said, prior to thanking Russell Walden for his piano-playing, as well as George Williamson for running the soundboard.
"You've been fabulous," she told the audience.
Her encore performance was a lilting rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which she incorporated as a crowd sing-along towards the end. "You're great at singing," she told her Long Island fans.
The Verdict
Overall, Judy Collins was magnificent at The Paramount. She made the audience feel as if they were in her living room, thus enjoying a private concert. There were no gimmicks: only a woman with an impeccable talent and an equally gifted musical director (Russell Walden), both of which were able to silence an entire venue of fans. Collins' vocals were pure, captivating and heavenly. She proved to be an American treasure.
For anybody who has yet to see Ms. Collins play live, they seriously need to add a ticket to one of her shows on their bucket list. She garnered an A+ rating.
To learn more about Judy Collins and her upcoming concerts, visit her official website.
More about don mclean, both sides now, American pie, the paramount, Huntington
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