Last night, I almost killed myself to go see Harry Connick Jr. I wish I could say that I’m exaggerating, but wow. Before I talk about the show, I’m going to talk about the drive, because it was TERRIFYING. I had been checking the weather all day, because I knew that both CT and MA were supposed to get some snow. Based on the forecast, I decided to leave at 4. It was NOT snowing when I left (I’m not stupid, lol). It usually takes me an hour to get there, so I figured I’d get there plenty early but avoid the gnarliest part of the weather. Things were good all the way through Hartford…..then we got on Route 2. That’s the longest part of the drive, about 45 miles. It had started to lightly snow around Hartford, but as we made our way down Route 2, suddenly we were in a snow globe. The snow was coming down hard and fast and it was coming directly at us. There are no streetlights on that stretch of highway so there was literally zero visibility. I was getting dizzy from the effect. Super scary! Once we finally got off of Route 2, it was about 6pm. We were 8 miles from Foxwoods. We got stuck on 5 separate hills because people just don’t know how to drive in the snow-they kept stopping on the hills. It took us an hour and 10 minutes to go that 8 miles. Just over 3 hours to complete what is normally a one hour drive. UGH.
We finally arrived and fortunately we still had about 45 minutes to show time. The plus side is that nobody was in line for will call when we got there because everyone had already picked up their tickets. I had initially inquired about media credentials for this show, but being just little old me, they were unable to grant the request because the few credentials they had were already promised to major media outlets. I asked if they’d be nice enough to get me some tickets so that I could still review the show and they kindly obliged…..and boy did they! When I picked up the tickets, I was thrilled to see that they were Orchestra center, Row K, right on the aisle. Amazing, wonderful seats with a great view. The show was scheduled to start at 8, but I think it got started closer to 8:30. I’ve gotta say, MGM Grand is one of my favorite venues..it’s not very big and it feels very intimate, which is perfect for a performer like Harry.
Just a quick note-there was no photography of any kind allowed, so I don’t have any photos. Harry Connick doesn’t need fanfare….they literally raised the red velvet curtain and he walked out onto the stage, with no annoying hype up to be found. I was super excited to see what amounted to a partial orchestra on stage. Big band style, baby! There was of course, a good sized brass section, a string section and a cello. Harry took a seat at the piano and jumped right into his first song. I’ve never seen him live-I expected a standard show, but what I got was so much more. He’s really THE consummate performer. It was also a comedy show. He peppered the evening with funny anecdotes and the crowd was eating it up. He thanked us all for being there in spite of the weather and let us know that he barely made it. He then made a comment that Coldplay was at Mohegan and if it were up to him, he’d be over at their show. That set us up for constant comments and jokes about Coldplay for the entire set. It was really amusing. At one point he noticed a dollar bill on the piano bench and he gave it to someone in the front row, with the instructions to play it in a slot machine. He also read us his “White Trash New Year’s Eve” party invitation. Heads up, if you’re headed to the Connick house on NYE (and we were all invited), you’d better eat before hand, because they will only provide Ritz crackers and spray cheese. If you want anything other than Schlitz or Elephant Malt Liquor, BYOB. All drinks will be served in plastic cups (and they DON’T recycle). There’s also going to be a re-gift swap…bring something you’ve received that you don’t want, wrapped. I won’t tell you what he’s going to be giving because he swore us to secrecy. It was all very silly and entertaining. The crowd was literally ROARING at this point.
Ok, I digress…back to the incredible music. Now, I’ve been listening to Harry Connick for a lot of years. I love his sound, I love the covers that he does and I really love him as an actor. What I learned about him last night is that he plays just about every instrument going. I saw him play the piano, trumpet, drums and he played them all with serious skill. He had his pal Lucien Barbarin up on stage with him, playing brass and singing with him as well. His band is really incredible and you can tell that his hometown is a major influence in his music. There was some serious Bourbon St flavor happening at Foxwoods last night. It was not-so-subtly woven into the show, especially at the end when they did an old school New Orleans jam as the encore. Now, I’ll admit-I was hoping for a longer set. I felt like the show ended much too quickly, but that could have more to do with the fact that I could sit and listen to Harry croon for hours and never get bored. If you ever get the chance, go see Harry and his incredible band. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
P.S. It took us 3 hours to get home too….but we made it in one piece!
If you’re living under a rock, you can read more about Harry on his website.
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