Diana Krall seemed discombobulated Friday night at the Orpheum Theatre. And that turned out to be a good thing for the sell-out crowd.
The jazz star blew a lyric in the second verse of the first song and she blew the boogie woogie piano intro to her closing encore number. In between, she had a couple of other oops moments but all these gaffes brought out her personality. She was friendly and funny, two characteristics never revealed in abundance in her previous Twin Cities concerts.
Krall talked about walking in Minneapolis the previous day and asking four friendly people for directions before someone got it right. She talked about the weather (remember, it was a rainy Thursday) and how she has a tendency to sing songs about the weather, especially rain (for those keeping score: three rain songs, one sunshine tune).
Once when Krall played a really long piano solo, she blurted: “If I was the singer in this band, I’d be pissed off.”
Between songs, the singer/pianist sparred with rude fans who shouted out things like “Elvis Costello.” She retorted, “He’s onstage somewhere else tonight.” She did acknowledge that she’s still married to him. Later, she mused out loud: “I wonder if people yell ‘Diana Krall’ at Elvis Costello concerts?” Eventually, she played a Costello song, “Almost Blue,” one of the night’s highlights.
Even though this is billed as Krall’s Wallflower Tour, she played only two tunes from her new “Wallflower” album, which features covers of soft-rock hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s. The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” was more organic and jazzier live than on record. She also did Bob Dylan’s “Wallflower,” an obscure but sweet little piece buoyed by fiddle.
The rest of the repertoire in the 1 ¾-hour set included a pretty rendition of Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate,” standards like “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and the jaunty, New Orleans-flavored “Sunny Side of the Street,” a funky treatment of the Band’s “Ophelia” and two Tom Waits tunes, “The Heart of Saturday Night” and “Temptation,” a blues jazz journey during which almost every member of her fine band got to solo – including her.
The 50-year-old, five-time Grammy winner from British Columbia, Canada, was very generous with solo spotlights for her players, including the stellar fiddler Stuart Duncan and guitarist Anthony Wilson.
With the outstanding solos, the friendly conversation and quick humor, it added up to a highly entertaining, musically rewarding evening.