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    Norah Jones in Schenectady

    Guess what I did on June 30th? Norah Jones is one of Herman’s favorite singers (as well as a lot of others’ favorite singer, judging by the eight Grammy’s her debut album got this past year). Anyway, she was at Proctor’s Theater on Monday, June 30th 2003 and we had terrific seats that we had ordered last February. In fact, the concert was sold out last February. Ironically, they had one handicapped seat with a companion seat left when we called as we were heading out of town to see Mom in Florida.

    Jones walked on stage in the midst of her group with no fanfare and began to sing. Her breathy voice appears as easily maintained on stage as in the recording studio. Between songs she kept up an easy banter with the audience about which of the songs were covers (including those by Hank Williams, Duke Ellington and the Everly Brothers), and which songs were written by band members. She never mentioned her Grammy’s nor which of the songs she wrote. She made various comments on the town name ("Schenectady; that’s a fun word to say. I had to spell it for someone yesterday and I had to think it through,") and sights around the concert hall ("There’s a truck with ‘smooth jazz’ on it outside. Anybody see that? I wonder who thought that up?")

    While the band left the stage in mid set ("I guess the band needs a bathroom break," Jones said), she crooned two songs with just piano accompaniment which left no doubt about her talent. This was my favorite part of the concert. Several of the audience also voiced the opinion that more songs with just Jones on stage would be fine with everybody. But Jones made special effort to give credit to her band members, introducing and mentioning each band member’s name several times.

    Jones closed the set with the trademark "Don’t Know Why," which received a standing ovation. Long and loud applause brought the band back for two final songs and the house lights came up.

    It was a nice evening in Schenectady (and you have to remember how much I hate to leave my beach and lake house for anything). I never thought of Schenectady as a fun word to say until I saw Norah Jones and heard her mention it. It’s stuff like that that reminds me that even a star of her magnitude has fun with small things. And since that is where I find humor, I found Jones whole attitude refreshing.

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"