By: Cheryl Armour
Variety Playhouse Atlanta, GA
October 06, 2011
Lizz Wright grew up in Hahira, Georgia, studied music at Georgia State University and began her music career in Atlanta, GA. Lizz returned home Thursday night for a one night performance at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta.
Lyric, a singer/songwriter from North Carolina, opened with several numbers to get the crowd warmed up including “Amber Rose,” “Not Anymore,” and “Blue Skies,” which Lyric explained was a sentimental favorite of hers because it was one of the first songs she had ever written. I overheard several people in the audience comment about what a great voice she had. At one point between songs a gentleman in the crowd called out, “Where can we buy your music?” Lyric smiled shyly and replied, “We’ll have cd’s for you in the lobby after the show.”
People chatted during a brief break while waiting for the main event. It wasn’t too long before Lizz took the stage looking comfortable, classy and radiant in a long, flowing gown. She opened the show with “Old Man” after which she addressed the crowd and thanked them for being there. “You all bought tickets to see me, a hometown girl?” she asked demurely.
She promised to include a wide range of selections through-out the show. Some jazz, blues, love songs and gospel. She said, “I made albums to suit my short attention span” referring to the wide variety of music she has recorded, crossing and blending genres. She sang “Fellowship,” “When I Fall,” and “Walk with me, Lord,” then invited Lyric to join her on the stage and the two sang a duet of “Hit the Ground.”
At one point Lizz paused between songs to introduce the band including guitarists Robin Macantagay and Marvin Sewell and Kenny Banks, the pianist who played with her at her very first gig, in Atlanta, when she was 19 years old. They performed a varied selection of songs which had the crowd rocking and swaying on the slower ones, clapping, cheering and up on their feet for some of the more high energy songs. We had church with some spiritual selections during which Lizz danced on stage in her bare feet, clapping and playing tambourine. Other songs included “Easy Rider,” “Peace Flows” written by Brandon Ross and “My Heart.”
Throughout Lizz Wright once again delivered a stellar performance. Her silky, smooth, rich voice never seems to fail or falter. I must give a shout out to the band. They were outstanding. Kenny Banks’ superb and animated piano playing had the crowd jumping out of their seats. The guitar and drum solos were amazing. Of course, when the show ended, the crowd erupted with chants of “Encore!” and “More!”
Lizz took the stage once again for an encore performance of “Amazing Grace” and a gospel medley which included “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright and “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah.”
It’s great to see an amazing live performance in a small venue. It really felt like a church or family gathering. Everyone had a good seat and the audience could easily interact with the band. They were eager to show Lizz their appreciation and let her know they welcomed her home and were proud to call her one of their own. Several times throughout the show, one gentleman in the crowd called out between songs “Beautiful!” And that’s exactly what it was. Beautiful. A beautiful night of singing, dancing, music and fellowship.
“It’s good to be home.”
~ Lizz Wright
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