Jackie Live

It might make for a lively debate between who is the best singer you’ve ever heard and the best you ever saw, but when those two are one in the same objectivity could take a hit. Then again, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then how important is objectivity? In this case, not at all.

EVANCHO_Movies_8668If you’ve never heard of Jackie Evancho, you would be doing a disservice to yourself by not checking her out. The first time I heard her sing I thought it was fake. It had to be lip synching. 10 years old at the time, she sang with a powerful grace that changed how I looked at music. As for the lip synch charge, it became clear after a few songs that she was not lip synching, and that voice was coming from that little girl. It should have come as no surprise that she was just going to get even better.

Now 12, Jackie was coming to the area, and I had to go see her-again. My girl and I had seen her back in February, at what is now the famed Nokia concert. For whatever reason, she was not impressed and did not want to go a second time. My guess is that it was a cultural thing and it will take time to appreciate the type of music that Jackie sings. It has been described as classical crossover, with elements of opera mixed with…pop you could say. More in the Barbara Streisand/Celine Dion mode though. Maybe that isn’t your cup of tea-it isn’t mine either, and I can’t really say if it was Jackie the singer or Jackie the total package that drew me in. Either way, I’m hooked, and I was going to see her solo if my girl didn’t want to go. She didn’t and I did.

The show was in Orange County, which meant I would have to traverse the length of Los Angeles to get there. Monday night rush hour in L.A. is not the time you want to hit the road, but short of leaving very early and spending the day in O.C. it was my only choice. As expected, it was stop and go all the way down. There were a few drops of rain along the way, but thankfully that’s all there was. Rush hour in the rain would have been the proverbial nightmare. I was spared though.

More than two hours later the traffic finally broke up a little and I made it to the venue with 15 minutes to spare. Segerstrom Center for the Arts is a complex that apparently is a conduit for the more refined arts if you will, and it looked like they put enough into it to make it look that way. Looks can be deceiving though.

Parking was a breeze and the structure was adjacent to the center grounds. Not being sure where the concert hall was I saw where a few throngs of people were headed and followed them. They led me right to the door. It was a little hard to gauge at night, but the venue appeared to be a massive glass building, and on the inside, very elegant. Not sure who designed the place. Once I got upstairs to my level, I had to go down to actually enter the arena area. Not knowing if my girl was going to go or not, I waited until the last few days to get a ticket and I got what I got.

The balcony was so high it was a little dizzying at first. Way too far away. I wanted to see Jackie up close and this seat wasn’t going to cut it. No screen either, so whatever I could see from the nosebleeds was what I was going to come away with. A very nice usher led me to my seat-on the aisle, and she actually stood there next to me the entire show, so I wasn’t completely alone. It didn’t make up for seats though. There were two small steps up to the seat, and naturally there was a handrail alongside the stairs. Unfortunately, the handrail blocked my view of the stage. That was just the first obstacle though. Once I craned myself around the handrail the folks in front of me were blocking my view. It wasn’t their fault; it was just the design. Overcoming those obstacles was tough enough but the overall design was the final blow. The stage was partially obscured by the balcony. It was just the way it was designed. When Jackie moved to right, I couldn’t see her at all. I only had a view of half the stage, and it was a fight just to see that. But it was Jackie, so it was worth it I told myself.

The show opened with the orchestra playing a piece I was unfamiliar with. This isn’t my kind of music. Jackie is the exception. While they played I took in the layout of the place. Gold curtains adorned the walls and the balcony concrete complemented in white. There were those large metallic tongues above the stage as well. Maybe an opera or classical afficionado could identify those. I’m guessing they have something to do with the dispersion of sound. Whatever they were they were large, and in my opinion, not that attractive. I also noticed that there were seats behind the stage. Probably to see the conductor for certain performances. For this one, they were the cheap seats. Yes, cheaper than mine.

The orchestra wrapped up their opening number and now it was Jackie’s turn. The orchestra began with a song from her latest CD and Jackie came on, as she always does, smiling and waving to the crowd. I could see the sparkles in her blue dress even from where I was. The first note out of Jackie’s mouth made me forget about the bad seat-for the time being. I didn’t go to be pissed off, I went to see this awesome singer.

I’m not going to go song by song here, it wouldn’t make sense to anybody that hasn’t heard Jackie Evancho, but I may do so on another post. What I can say is that she knocked it out of the park. You have to see her to believe her. She is a child without a doubt. That becomes pretty clear between songs. Her singing is another matter entirely. I think she’s at her best live, because you get the whole package. She’s quite charming.

She could have sung all night as far as I was concerned, but it had to end eventually, and being a Monday night, folks started to leave after her last song, not waiting for an encore. I waited. It seemed a little rude to me at that moment, but…it was a Monday night. She came back and did a Christmas song. It was one of her signature songs, and I was very happy to see her do it live for the first time. I talked about those seats behind the stage. As Jackie sang the final song, there was a noticeable yell from those seats. It looked like somebody took a tumble down the stairs. Jackie heard it and turned to look. The seats were above her though, so I don’t think she could see. It was hard to gauge how serious it was from my vantage point. She continued the song to finish the show. It would have been nice to get a few pics or some video for my own, but that usher was there the entire time. No photography. Too bad.

The sight of the ambulance pulling up as the crowd filed out put a little damper on the end of the show. Hope that person is okay. Bad seats, some sound problems, no pics and that accident at the end might make you think that it was a wasted evening, a bad investment in a ticket. Far from it. None of those things were Jackie’s fault. In fact, she singlehandedly made the evening quite enjoyable. I’m not sure how I would have felt if it weren’t her up there. It was worth every dime, and I will surely see her again. Better seats next time for sure.

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