Feinstein's at the Regency has wisely booked this popular entertainer for three stints over the last three years to perform in its intimate environs. Her current show is called This Time Around -- and this time around, she has put on a big, brassy show that is sure to satisfy her fans.
One doesn't come to a Linda Eder show to hear a delicately nuanced reading of a lyric. That's not what she's about. You want the throbbing and thrilling belt that she brings to a song like "Big Time" (co-written by her ex-husband, Frank Wildhorn). This is not to say that she can't score with a ballad, which she did quite beautifully when she teamed with Michael Feinstein on "Two for the Road" as a special opening night surprise.
Teaming with her saxophone player, David Mann, she also made something special out of another ballad, "On the Street Where You Live" playfully matching notes with her reed man, holding her notes longer than he could hold his.
Eder isn't into clever patter; her talk between songs is pretty much devoted to what she's going to sing next and why she chose it. For instance, she introduced Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" by saying it was her favorite song and if we didn't like it, too bad. Happily, we liked it very much.
Most of her songs were chosen, she explained, to fit under the umbrella of a "Best Of" show -- and included such tried-and-true Eder favorites as "Storybook," "Bring on the Men," and "Just in Time."
There were many points in the show when we wished it was just Eder and her pianist (and musical director) John Oddo on stage. Her five-piece band, while exceedingly talented, tended to create a wall of sound that didn't so much enhance Eder's performance as compete with it. Indeed, her sound is so unique that, in a club like Feinstein's, it would be a real treat for her to sing with more spare arrangements that featured her voice front and center. Maybe we'll get lucky and have that experience if she returns to Feinstein's for a fourth time.
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