By MANTA KLANGBOONKRONG
DIANA KRALL’S SHOW |at Royal Paragon Hall last Friday night, her third visit to Bangkok and the first since 2005, was another sumptuous feast of jazz and pop for her Thai fans.
The best-selling Canadian singer-pianist, 51, rolled into town this time on her “Wallflower World Tour”, packing the venue at Siam Paragon. Accompanied by double bass, guitar, fiddle, keyboards and drums, she opened the evening with the 1920s jazz standard “Deed I Do”, giving it her patented treatment and drawing loud cheers.
Krall thanked the crowd in Thai and then switched to |English to say, “It’s a pleasure to be back here again.”
The only singer to have had eight albums debut at the top of the Billboard jazz chart, she’s won five Grammy Awards and eight Junos, her homeland’s equivalent. Add to those statistics nine gold, three platinum and seven multi-platinum albums and 15 million discs sold, and she’s clearly a formidable force in the industry.
Krall gave Bangkok her full artillery of timeless hits. There were the well-known numbers “Let’s Fall in Love” and “Frim Fram Sauce” by Nat King Cole, “So Nice” by Sergio Mendes, “Simple Twist of Fate” and “Wallflower” by Bob Dylan, “Temptation” by Tom Waits, and “Angel Eyes”, a tune most associated with Frank Sinatra.
There was Burt Bacharach’s “The Look of Love”, which was a mega-hit for Krall, “If I Take You Home Tonight” by Paul McCartney and, perhaps with the recent death of Glenn Frey in mind, “Desperado” by the Eagles.
Effortlessly elegant, Krall’s stage presence is as soothing and enigmatic as her rare, slightly raspy contralto. Her genuine enthusiasm was inviting and intimate, making fans feel as though they were sitting in her living room.
The twists she adds to the songs she covers are always exhilarating – and usually unexpected. She’ll announce the title beforehand and the tune is immediately recognisable, but then she lets whim take flight, and listeners can only follow along with a smile all the melodious ups and downs of her interpretation. It makes for a great musical journey.
And that’s quite apart from Krall’s exceptional musicianship. Her piano sings along, whispers, rocks, shouts and weeps at her fingertips. In addition, the members of the band were obviously carefully chosen to enhance her masterly performance, bringing harmony to the whole.
Sound-wise, Paragon Hall proves to be a fine setting for concerts, able to handle the most delicate of passages. The stage set was simple but adequate, the lighting just enough to frame the music’s varying moods. Of course, with Diana Krall at the piano and microphone, nothing extravagant is needed. The woman would be just as captivating playing in an underground cave.