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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisBetween four Tony Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, an Emmy and a Grammy, Liza Minnelli could very well be the hardest working women in show business. Even at 64, the star of stage, big and small screen is still going strong in all facets of her career, from recurring roles on "Arrested Development" to time in this summer's blockbuster "Sex In the City 2" to a brand new tour and the forthcoming CD Confessions (Decca).
She may not have moved around as much as her show stopping scenes in "Cabaret" since undergoing knee replacement surgery, but Minnelli's sheer star power had no trouble filling the Chicago Theatre's elegant stage with some extra help from a six piece jazz combo. The two act evening was split between her signature songs and standards, some of which were sang standing up and others from a director's chair. No matter what the format, the entertainer was clearly in revitalized form, looking slim and trim, alongside unshakeable confidence and smatterings of comic relief.
First half highlights included the sultry opener "The Nearness of You" (during which the star spied on the crowd with binoculars) and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" in all its candlelit glory. Along the way, Minnelli stopped to marvel at the Chicago Theatre, explaining her father Vincente Minnelli designed theatrical sets for six or seven years in the very venue and that her mother Judy Garland's rendition of the song "Chicago" was just stupidly stupendous.
Minnelli's chit-chat was just as charming as the songs themselves and she more than delivered on her diva-like reputation. She shushed the crowd on a few occasions and even told a concertgoer to put a camera away seconds before the crescendo to "New York, New York." Even so, she seemed genuinely sincere when thanking fans for their unceasing support after all she's endured, with additional examples of appreciation coming through knockout renditions of "Cabaret" and "Maybe This Time."
The legend ended the affair with the understated ballad "The Lives of Me," once again confirming her vocal abilities and inciting a roaring standing ovation. With several bows and blown kisses, she disappeared behind the curtain leaving her band to reprise "New York, New York," while the audience departed under Minnelli's spell of glamour, elegance and magnetism.
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