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Diane Schuur at the American Theater

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Add to pianist/vocalist Diane Schuur's, resume comedian as she had the audience of a little over a hundred in stitches during her stories between songs. Whether it was about flying first class years ago for the free booze, (she's been sober for 33 years, a feat she is, and should be, extremely proud of), landing at an airport earlier in the day in Norfolk, VA (a city whose name has been mispronounced since the Navy took over the town in World War II), a city whose name she can no longer say without laughing, or making sure her boobs were resting on Middle C, Deedles was equally at home conversing with the audience as well as playing for them.

Blind since birth (she's accompanied on and off stage by her long-time tour manager and personal assistant Owen Cartwright) she greeted the audience with a big "So nice to see you!" took a couple a deep bows, threw her arms up over her head then got down to business. Sometimes responding to a shout out by an audience member or singing the praises of "this beautiful theater," (the American Theater in Hampton, VA) Deedles had the audience in the palm of her hand. Sharing the stage with her were Michael Fox on saxophone, David Gibson on drums and Roger Hines on acoustic and electric bass. The four musicians have been playing together off and on for decades so after a couple of songs and a brief conversation with Hines she abandoned the set list and the group continued as if nothing had changed.

Audience connection is important to Schuur and it is evident that she loves what she does and wants the audience to love it too. Fox, Gibson and Hines displayed their prowess with dynamic improvised solos throughout the night. Playing from her vast discography of George Gershwin, Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, Percy Mayfield and others Schuur and company had something for everyone. Sometime during the over 90 minute set someone shouted out from the audience, "Louisiana Sunday Afternoon!" Schuur threw her head back, laughed and shouted back, "Have patience sister, it's not time yet!" When it was time, the audience could not sit still. Here are photos from that show as well as a couple from backstage.
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