Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Concert review and photos: Sarah Jaffe and Norah Jones at Music Hall at Fair Park (May 4)
The audience got what it came to see: two local women at different stages of the same path.
FAIR PARK The elegant and massive Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas was a fitting setting for Sarah Jaffe and Norah Jones, two of the city’s most beloved daughters. In front of a packed house, the two singers each delivered outstanding performances for their hometown audience. It was an audience that arrived very early and in huge numbers. Most were dressed up, the women in stunning cocktail dresses and the men in dapper button-downs. (Lets just say it was a little different than the normal bar scene I frequently attend to cover live, local music.)
Beyond the glitz, this was a music-loving crowd. By the time opening act Sarah Jaffe took the stage, most of the 3,400 capacity venue was filled. Empty seats were few and far between and nearly the entire lower section of the Music Hall was filled.
Jaffe was accompanied on stage by fellow Denton artist Robert Gomez, and in true Jaffe form, the two played a set which was both warm and understated. She has the uncanny ability to captivate an entire audience with something as simple as a guitar strum. She's done it for a few hundred people in bars and clubs, but to watch her wow an audience of thousands in her seemingly simple way was impressive. She drew the entire place in, giving the cavernous venue a noted intimate feeling.
Playing a mix of songs from Jaffe’s new album Suburban Nature and some from her earlier work, Jaffe and Gomez worked in perfect harmony during the 45-minute set. It is clear that Jones made a wise choice in choosing Jaffe as her opener. Their two styles compliment one another well, yet each performer’s style is unique enough to stand out. And on Tuesday night, Jaffe stood out in a big way.
After a brief intermission, the crowd headed back to its seats for the headliner. The differences between Jones and Jaffe's set were obvious from the start. While Jaffe accentuated her performance by removing any frills and sticking to her normal, stripped down style, Jones appeared on stage with her full band and an outstanding light and stage design. It was less a set and more an all-out show -- just the thing the 3,000 person-audience paid to see. They sure got their money’s worth.
Jones came out and delivered a performance that was as sharp and glamorous as the hot pink high heeled shoes she was wearing. She moved back and forth from guitar to keyboard, playing her known hits mixed with some newer material. The audience seemed to love every second.
Tuesday was a treat for Dallas-Fort Worth local music fans. Both Jaffe and Jones had friends and families in the audience and seemed to relish in the spotlight of their home town. Jones especially interacted with the audience every chance she got, including one potentially tense moment when Jones was interrupted by someone who hollered out his admiration for her a few notes into a song. Jones stopped, and with tongue-in-cheek, asked him to please repeat what he'd said. The audience enjoyed a good laugh and Jones proved her ability to work the room.
All in all, the audience got what it came to see: two local women at different stages of the same path. It is not hard to imagine Jaffe headlining a show like this sometime in the near future. She has the talent and plenty of time to perfect her craft. And she should she choose to go the route that Jones has already cleared.
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