Anne Murray 10-29-2005
Anne Murray: Concert Comfortable at Cerritos
By Glen Creason
There comes a time in any person’s life, particularly ones from my generation when the last pretensions of cool vanish like steam off a hot rock. When this stage of maturity strikes we get to stop going to dry art films, watching PBS historical dramas and pretending not to like “Middle of the Road” pop music. Certainly, the grand empress of MOR is Anne Murray, the Canadian songstress with a string of hits and albums as long as the St. Lawrence Seaway. I like to think of Anne Murray’s versions of songs as comfortable and easy on the ears, which seems to be very popular in these parts. A jam-packed crowd loved every note at Cerritos and responded with much love, which the lady sent right back at them with two dozen of her best. Comfort music may be like comfort food, which most folks prefer to be honest. What would you like more, the lamb kidneys in balsamic vinegar sauce and buckwheat groats or meat loaf and mashed potatoes? Then again, Anne Murray ain’t chopped liver and her elegant outfits and charming, droll stage presence made for a very nice evening of song on Saturday night.
The band, like Anne Murray is not flashy but quite talented especially guitarists Aidan Mason and Georges Hebert plus unique pianist/musical director Steve Sexton. They were joined by the lush Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra who offered an added touch of class to the proceedings. The early going was easy going with sweet versions of “I Just Fall In Love Again,” “Shadows in the Moonlight,” and a crisp “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” The music was broken up and so was the audience when the singer read some very amusing “fan” e-mail, which suggested that she was Secretary of the Treasury of Canada and her songs were sweetly soporific. The banter throughout showed the Murray ease on stage and gentle wit. There were some edges in “Somebody’s Knockin’,” and “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About,” but an unplugged portion of the set offered several wonderful oldies like “Love Song,” “California Dreaming” and a pair of kids songs “Teddy bears Picnic” and “Hey Daddy.” One of the high points of the show was the gripping “Little Good News” followed up by Anne Murray’s four-star trademark “Snowbird” which had the faithful on their feet with the first of three standing ovations.
The second half of the concert had a country flavor starting with a medley that included “Oh Lonesome Me, “ “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Make the World Go Away,” Skeeter Davis’ “End of the World” “Sea of Heartbreak” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight.” Part of Ms. Murray’s long, successful career is her good taste in songs which was further evidenced by the 50’s stalwart “Singing the Blues” and an unlikely 60’s gem “Daydream Believer.” The best of the best were her beautiful readings of the powerful “Time Don’t Run Out on Me” followed by an absolutely perfect “You Needed Me” that saw her extend her range with beautiful results.“Could I Have This Dance” drew everybody up for the second time and encores of “Danny’s Song” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” gave rise to one more standing ovation, finishing a night of comfortably delightful music.