live review - Atlanta, GA
I knew Dana Glover could sing, but before the show I had no idea her voice would resonate so powerfully. Her recent debut, Testimony, showcases her vocals, but not enough. Robbie Robertson’s slick production is fitting for Glover’s genre but it largely overshadows her full, soul brimming voice. Live, sitting alone behind a keyboard, it was a different act entirely.
Glover opened with “Almost Had it All” and it was the first time I’ve seen a crowd give a standing ovation after the first song of a concert. It was a bit of an over-reaction for a concert in a small bar, but her voice was just that captivating. It felt like a gospel revival for the four minutes she was singing the song, and the people said, “amen.”
In an equally impressive moment Glover opened “Sing To Me,” with a Sax solo. As she came to the end of the solo she began playing her keyboard but didn’t let go of the saxophone. I’m still not completely sure how that worked. I can’t figure out how she put the sax down without missing a note on the keys and without me seeing it. She confessed after the song that even though it looked like a circus act, it’s one of the songs she used at her showcase to secure a record deal. Glover told a story, pertaining to her single “Rain,” about her drive through the Arizona deserts with her brother in a separate car. Her brother’s AC was broken and he turned the heat on because it was cooler than the air outside. “That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard,” she said. Somehow that led into the song and she played a moving version with a different, funkier bridge.
With all her soul, she is a singer’s singer, so it was slightly anti-climactic when she covered James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” That isn’t to say James Taylor is a bad singer, but the cover sounded uninspired compared to Glover’s fiery originals written with her voice as the centerpiece.
Glover ended her set with “Maybe,” a sensitive breakup song with a positive ending. She walked off the stage to another standing ovation only to come back out for an encore. Once the crowd settled and she was seated again she said, “you’ll have to stop after this one, I’m almost out of songs,” and the people said, “amen.”