They say that people get the kind of treatment they allow, accept or demand for themselves.
Upon entering Jardine’s last night I couldn’t help but notice that everyone was walking on eggshells. From the looks of things, Karrin Allyson’s performance was probably the biggest show the place had hosted this year. I’m not a show business expert but I’m sure that it’s not often a performer can demand silence from an audience and get it. In fact, I was warned that photos from media were only allowed for the first three songs of the performance. Before I even heard a note of Allyson’s performance I was already impressed with the control she exerted over the venue.
Obviously, I wondered if the show would live up to all the meticulous preparation and warnings to the crowd. I was amazed to discover that in one of the few instances in my life the hype was actually spot on and the performance that Karrin Allyson put on was just as amazing as those who touted her arrival had claimed.
Allow me to backtrack for a second. Check out a “STFU” card printed specifically for Allyson’s performance. We’ve all seen similar warnings at the movie theater but everybody ignores them. These place cards were put in front of every seat with a very real vibe that the warning was very real.
Still, I have to admit that once Allyson started with Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is The Ocean” the crowd was so captivated that they weren’t going to make a peep. From there Karrin quickly moved into her second number “Nothin’ But The Blues” by Duke Ellington to the delight of the largely silver-haired crowd. Allyson’s banter before the song was short but sweet and almost seemed to lament her time in Kansas City where she “learned way too much about the Blues.” The brief aside had the crowd hanging on her every word.
From there the jazz diva went into a couple of Brazilian numbers that went over nicely. I don’t speak Portuguese but I’ve heard it enough to understand that Allyson is certainly a skilled singer in the language. The highlight of this portion of the act was “This Happy Madness (Estrada Branca)” that featured Kansas City Jazz Guitar Great Rod Fleeman in top form.
After some time at the piano Allyson once again took to center stage and it was obvious that the highlight for a great many at the show was her rendition of the Jazz standard “Bye, Bye Country Boy.”
Her set lasted for an hour but it seemed much quicker and she definitely left the crowd wanting more. Immediately following the performance she was cordial with her fans but quickly made her way back to a private corner of Jardine’s.
I couldn’t leave without getting a glimpse of this alleged Jazz diva up close and for the record she was nothing but nice and patient with fans looking for autographs after the show.
Still, I figured the real test of her temperamental rep would be my stupid questions. I was more intimidated by Allyson’s reputation than by the geeky Star reviewer that threatened to kick my ass when I was safely in the restroom. Later in the evening I was introduced to her and, naturally, I complimented her performance. She was not only gracious but really sweet. She talked about her love for Kansas City and how great it was to be back and before I knew it I was on the receiving end of a hug from the Jazz legend. So at the end of the night I was not only pleasantly surprised that the infamous temper of a famous jazz singer was just part of her act ,but I also learned that supremely talented performers like Karrin Allyson are capable of inspiring the imagination of fans while both on and off the stage.