May 2000 Film Music CD Reviews Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Collection: Liza Minnelli - Minnelli on Minnelli   ANGEL 7243 5 24905 2 3 [65:11]

This is the live recording of the opening night performance, last December, at the Palace Theatre on Broadway, of Minnelli on Minnelli - Liza's highly emotional tribute to her father Vincent Minnelli (1903-1986) who directed all those spectacular MGM musicals. Liza returns, in triumph, after all her struggles against addictions and surgeries. The Palace was where Liza's mother Judy Garland, made her celebrated comebacks in 1951 and 1967. What pain and suffering those two women endured.

The emotion clearly got to Liza in the opening phases of the show. There is a hesitancy and strain in the voice, it sounds a bit woolly (too close-miked?) and with an uncharacteristically awful Overture from Marvin Hamlisch, and much too prolonged audience applause, I was set to write off this album as an embarrassing indulgence. But soon Liza's confidence picks up and she sings with all the old zest and panache and the album keeps getting better and better until at the end you want to leap up and cheer along with the audience. In the closing stages of her show, she has the wit and courage to send herself up in a clever parody of `I'm Glad I'm Not Young Any More'(from Gigi) in which she expresses her lack of concern for her age (she's 54) her weight and "a seven foot drag queen dressed like me". She then follows this up with a moving tribute in words and music to her parents singing `The Trolley Song' from Meet Me in St Louis (the first time she had sung this song made so famous by her mother) and concluding with a new song written for her in tribute to her father, `I Thank You.'

The whole show is built around the music from the films of Vincent Minnelli. There are medleys from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), and The Band Wagon (1953), with numbers from Cabin in the Sky (1943) The Clock (1945) Ziegfield Follies (1946), An American in Paris (1951), Kismet (1955); and On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970). Highlights include: Liza singing `The Boy Next Door' and `Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' that so movingly bring back memories of her mother (how alike their styles are!), Liza's superb and joyful rendition of `Shine on Your Shoes' (The BandWagon) easily equalling Fred's joie de vivre; and her radiant `What Did I Have That I Don't Have?' (On A Clear day You Can See Forever) in which she outclasses Barbra.

A 20-page booklet includes a sympathetic article about the show by Rex Reed, a very useful `Vincent Minnelli Directorial Filmography' and many pictures of Liza with her father, some on the sets of his films and a few including Judy.

An album full of nostalgic charm and one that would simply be churlish to even begin to rate.


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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