"Uh, Jazz Finds A Way."
Jeff Goldblum, Unlikely Jazz Maestro, Plays Pittsburgh
February 17th, 2019
Steel City native Jeff Goldblum, best known for his roles as Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic Park and David Levinson in Independence Day, who passed time while growing up in Pittsburgh taking piano lessons, returned to his hometown to wow the local crowd with how far he's come since his youth. Being a "big fan" of jazz, he assembled a five-piece orchestra called The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra and played a rather full night of two sold out shows on Valentine’s Day, while on tour in support of his first jazz recording, The Capitol Studio Sessions.
Before the scheduled start time of 7:00 PM's “early show,” the survivor of expeditions to Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna got the party going by walking into the crowd, meeting, greeting, sharing stories and participating in a Q&A with the fans who entered the beautiful Carnegie Library Music Hall early enough to partake in Goldblum's quirky delivery and turn of a phrase.
The topics ranged from his work in film, music, and talks of growing up in Pittsburgh. Golblum was a familiar face to many locals in the audience who knew him before his acclaimed work in David Cronenberg's The Fly way back in 1986. (Note: the pre-show audience interactions did not happen during the “late show” due to a meet and greet after the first show).
Goldblum's band took the stage promptly at 7:00 PM and Jeff joined them to considerable applause and approval for the local-boy-made-good. For the next hour and a half the band performed covers of Nat King Cole's “Straighten Up and Fly Right," Rosemary Clooney's “Come on my House” and Leonard Cohen's haughty “Don’t Make It Junk." Haley Reinhart (of Post Modern Jukebox fame), the vocalist for these and a couple of other songs really shines; her voice is perfect for the environment.
The band takes each well-known (and perhaps well-worn) song and gave them a spark in such a lively acoustical setting. Mr. Goldlbum’s facial expressions are also something to behold, as his WYSIWYG persona doesn’t seem too far removed from a lot of his acting. And, of course, he’s just having a blast on stage.
In between songs, the concert also played like a variety show, as a stage hand would present Jeff with a sheet of paper between songs and he would quiz the crowd on such topics as local Pittsburgh slang and local western Pennsylvania businesses.
Near the end of the show Jeff invited three fans up on stage to recite lines from his movies and it was up the audience to guess the title, year and his character he played. It made for the funniest part of the evening as the audience members did their “best” Goldblum impressions.
During the first show his most famous line wasn’t on the list but during the second show one participant took it upon herself to utter the “Life, uh, finds a way.” Too which, rightly so, the audience went nuts. Extra points if you know that was his famous line from 1993's Jurassic Park.
Backed up a crackerjack band, it was clear Jeff and the other six members where having a great time and the chemistry they displayed made the show a night well spent, worthy of the two-plus hour drive from Northeast Ohio.
Jeff seemed glad to be home as he waved a Terrible Towel, which was the only bad part of the show for this Browns fan.
But that’s all in good fun. Just like both of the shows.
Review by Troy Smith