Smooth and sultry, Diana Krall jazzes up Grand Theatre

Tahoe Onstage

The Grand Theatre was a musical temple on Saturday with Diana Krall and her band.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Nick McCabe

Attending a Diana Krall concert is like a trip to a temple of music. It’s a walk through a garden blooming with a joyful noise. Her smoky, sultry voice mixed with her delicate finesse on the piano makes for a cocktail that goes down smooth.

Krall and her band raised the bar at The Grand Sierra Resort again Saturday, July 29. She last appeared there in 2015.

Her interaction with the audience was both comfortable and amusing. At a couple points early on she was getting “input” from the audience. “Buy me a drink” one gentleman shouted. “After I play this song,” she responded. Of a song request that was shouted out, she responded with, “You’ll have to come back tomorrow night.” Her pleasant responses seemed to encourage the slightly unruly senior crowd. Ultimately, she chose to let the interplay subside without response. A wise choice.

Tahoe Onstage

Diana Krall entertains the audience in the Grand Sierra Resort on July 29, 2017.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Nick McCabe

Her band is made up of four amazingly talented players. Always right by her side playing standup bass was Robert Hurst, who has been with her all four times I’ve seen her, as has been guitarist Anthony Wilson. On drums was Karriem Riggins. He was with her last time she played GSR in 2015. Brand new to the mix since I last saw her was Stuart Duncan on fiddle.

Everybody performed solos, and Krall gave them kudos at the end of each one. That’s jazz!

They played a combination of standards, covers and originals. Among the covers was a Tom Waits tune called “Temptation.” During this song the band was bathed in deep red light, befitting of the subject, and all had fantastic solos. In comparing Krall’s effort with Waits’ version, she did stay true to the original, but their two voices are as different as sandpaper to silk. Karriem Riggins had a drum solo where he was using his brushes with an absolutely incredible technique. Sometimes less is more.

Most songs had unique videos on a large backdrop behind the band that related to the song. “Sway” (originally done by Dean Martin) had a beautiful and moving vintage film of two people dancing together. This was another huge performance. After finishing with the up-tempo “Just You, Just Me” (with incredible solos by all players) she returned for a three song encore that included “Almost Blue” written by her husband, Elvis Costello, and the show closer, “Ophelia” by The Band.

I always encourage readers to go out and listen to live music. It’s different than listening at home. As Chris Isaak says, “We can see you too!” Plus, you need to try new things. I first went to a Diana Krall show out of curiosity. She wasn’t on my radar and I had none of her albums. I loved it and still do. I have gone to all of her shows that have been in the area since I first saw her.

Get out there and try new things. You never know what will hit you hard and stay with you, and our town is full of opportunities.

-Nick McCabe

  • Diana Krall
    Grand Sierra Resort, Reno
    July 29, 2017
    Deed I Do
    Isn’t it Romantic
    Night and Day
    Blue Sky’s
    Sunny Side of The Street
    A Case of You
    Quiet Nights (solo)
    Peal Me A Grape (partial)
    I Don’t Know Enough About You
    Just You, Just Me
    East of The Sun
    Almost Blue
  • The band
    Diana Krall – piano, vocals
    Anthony Wilson – guitars
    Robert Hurst – bass
    Karriem Riggins – drums
    Stuart Duncan – fiddles

About Nick McCabe

Nick McCabe is a musician, photographer and writer from Reno. He is the editor of the music website Front Row Photo. He plays in a seven-piece band, Apothic.

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