I am thrilled. I just discovered that Alicia Keys’ June 30 concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, which was broadcast online live by AOL, is now available—at least bits of it are—for those who missed it entirely or in part. I fall in the latter category, as I very happily witnessed most of the performance on my computer after missing the first several songs. You’ll have to sit through a few ads to watch the recording, but trust me, if you appreciate music from the soul, it’s worth it.
This is Alicia and her piano: that’s it. No backup singers, no instrumentalists, no dancers. Just wonderful piano playing and a powerful, perfectly nuanced voice, presented naturally and with a beautiful spirit.
Turns out the first few numbers were covers of songs that inspired Alicia. In my opinion, after the lovely piano solo introduction, her passion really shows up with the last of the beginning covers—Brian McKnight’s “Never Felt This Way.” (If you’re looking at the site, that’s one click on the right arrow and then the second frame in that group.)
Just keep watching from there. There’s no reason to skip anything. It’s all good, to be understated about it. (Some of the songs are cut short, giving you only excerpts, but it’s better than nothing.) Here’s how the rest of the playlist flows:
- Trouble Man – OK, this one’s a cover too, but it’s definitely worth your time: it’s Marvin Gaye, after all, and she commits to it.
- Troubles – Gorgeous. This is where I started watching the live broadcast and was immediately hooked.
- How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore – She included her version of this Prince song on her debut album, Songs in A Minor—released 10 years ago, the reason for this celebration—and she rocks this performance.
- Goodbye – Beautiful, heartbreaking.
- A Woman’s Worth – And the audience participates: “Baby, you know I’m worth it.” Damn straight.
- Why Do I Feel So Sad
- Caged Bird –Short, but oh so powerful.
- Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# Minor
- Fallin’ – The song that started our love affair with Alicia, right from its very first amazing notes.
- You Don’t Know My Name
- If I Ain’t Got You – Full version of this one… Yes!
- Like You’ll Never See Me Again – A shortened version, but enough to produce some chills.
- Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart – Heartbreaking rendition … More chills.
- Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) – The leap of faith she’s describing really comes out in this live performance. Feel the love.
- New York State of Mind – Yes, Billy Joel’s song.
- Empire State of Mind, Part II – “Broken down,” as they say…. and it’s the best part of the song, in my opinion.
- Sure Looks Good to Me – Inspiring. Life isn’t always pretty, but “don’t rain on my parade; life’s too short to waste one day.” So keep on truckin’ and keep those spirits up.
- No One
I feel badly for those of you who missed the live broadcast, not only because you didn’t get the whole uninterrupted concert, but also because you didn’t get to witness most of Alicia’s interactions with the crowd. The beauty that pours out of this 30-year-old woman is incredibly inspiring, even before she puts fingers to the keys or mouth to the microphone. I think you’ll get a feel for what I mean when you look at the faces of the audience members as they sing along on the last song. You may want to hang around for a few more minutes and watch the interview. Again, feel the love.
I, for one, am putting Alicia Keys on my “must see live” list. I hope you enjoyed this even half as much as I did.