Regarding Melisa Manchester: As Rob Reiner’s mother said in When Harry Met Sally, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Manchester has been doing this “job” for 40 years. She swoops into the room with an upbeat song of her composing, as are most of the songs on this bill. The first, FIRST thing she does after that is introduce her musicians: Stephan Oberhoff – vocals, keyboard and guitar and Susan Hodler – vocals and percussion.
Her repertoire is mostly filled with vintage songs. And with each song you see the wisdom and wit of this woman. Her voice has aged and become a rich and fluid sound of experience. But Manchester does not live in the past. She is very much in the present.
She is an adjunct professor at USC ( which she finds hilarious as she never went to college) and her students persuaded her that for her new album You Gotta Love The Life, she should go down the path of crowd sourcing. So if you go to her website www.melissamanchester.com you will be offered a FREE download as well as the opportunity to contribute not only money, but ideas for her cover.
I Know Who I Am blows the roof off the place. It was chosen to be the music for the trailer for The Butler and shouts out all the colors of a life lived long – Finally I can feel without the fearing, cry without the pain, stand up and love me without any shame. She let’s loose and her voice is golden and grand.
Come In From The Rain, Midnight Blue (Intended for Dionne Warwick but the producer liked “the girl on the demo”) andWhenever I Call Your Name (written with Kenny Loggins) let you slip into the past while keeping a foot in the present. There are a lot of folks these days who have a past worth singing about but who seem stuck in it. Manchester has grown into the songs she wrote decades ago.
She closes with the exceptional Don’t Cry Out Loud associated with Peter Allen. And then she rocks into You Gotta Love The Life. This has a rich Latin beat and directes us all to get up when we fall and to fall in love with life.
You CANNOT help but walk out of this show feeling like you just got a direct hit of hope and joy and wonder.
Manchester is delish.
Melissa Manchester performs through June 22 at Café Carlyle at the Carlyle Hotel, 35 East 76th Street, Manhattan; 212-744-1600.