at the Rrazz Room
There was nothing about hearing Sam Harris sing at the Rrazz Room that called out to me. He’s the big winner of Star Search from 1984 — a fact I neither knew or cared about. He’s known for having a big Broadway voice which doesn’t do much for me, and, as a rule, I prefer women singers.
I didn’t have low expectations about the show. Rather I expectations that there’d be a wonderful show in a style I didn’t care for. Variety/Broadway singing generally makes me yawn and check my watch.
But, wow! Harris is a skilled entertainer with a load of raw talent. He pandered to the audience with the show tunes they knew he sang, but he also used the small scale of the Rrazz Room to his advantage (my Yelp notes on the Rrazz Room). He talked to the audience, joked, and surprised. One of my favorites was his starting off What Will I Do? but quickly switching to Jazmine Sullivan’s Bust Your Windows.
He’s political, too. He’s a father of a two-year-old, and his parenthood and marriage to his husband call him share his social action commitment with the cabaret crowd. It works for me.
The big Broadway numbers and ballads were appreciated most by Thursday’s audience. But, Harris’ability to convince me that he deserved to sing Bridge Over Troubled Waters was what gave him a place in my pantheon of vocalists. I am always very, very skeptical of covers of generational classics like Bridge. I suspect that most are made to piggy-back on nostalgia for the original songwriter’s skills. Harris, though, made Bridge both different and strong. The audience was up standing and applauding before the lights came back on.
Overall, Harris delivered a great show as he met his audience. Great voice. Even better as an entertainer.