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Norah Jones does it all with ease

norah-jones
Photo by Danny Clinch

Review by Lenny Burns
Norah Jones is a really good set. Jones’ sultry voice, varied musicianship and presence, and her show’s stellar production values, inhabit Wellington’s TSB Arena. Jazz, folk, rock, soul; vocals, piano, electric guitar, acoustic; Norah does it all with ease.

‘Come Away With Me’ is a hot transporting highlight, her promises of mountain-top kisses and being safe there “in your arms” perennially beautiful. ‘Don’t Know Why’ is another crowdpleaser, meeting high expectations, speaking rousingly both about “feel [ing] as empty as a drum” and death “in ecstasy”.

As with Bob Dylan, the no “nobody rocks like Shellbyville” critique of Norah is asinine. A very good musical performer inherently interacts powerfully with her audience and her talented bandmates. Honed over many nights around the world, Norah’s band have an intuitive rapport, as primal red and blue backdrops unfurl behind them.

‘Sunrise’ is sweet, without being saccharine. ‘Cold, Cold Heart’ (her Hank Williams cover) is both crisp and gritty. “Why can’t I free your doubtful mind?, and melt your cold, cold heart”. Indeed, if Norah hasn’t convinced the doubters and the haters by now, they seem medically unreachable.

I hope it’s not so long before she plays Down Under again. It’s encouraging that Norah is playing Queenstown this week; that town needs a lot more good cultural events.