That much was obvious from his show at the
Murphy seemingly had the crowd, which filled the orchestra and first balcony areas, eating out of the palm of his large hand. The lanky former car-detailer strutted onto the stage in a tailored three-piece darkly colored suit with a wide tie he said he'd picked up from Estep's in
"Usually I wear skinny ties because I'm a skinny guy," he quipped, earning a laugh from the crowd.
Murphy is a showman. He sings. He dances. He tells jokes. And though he's known for his take on
He opened the show with "That's Life" and "I've Got the World on a String," both songs popularized by Sinatra. He followed those two with his take on "The Way You Look Tonight," a wonderful song that sounded perfect with Landau's jazzy swing. Thursday night's concert, celebrating the 35th anniversary of
Murphy, and the all-local musician Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. band, gracefully moved through a few more songs. At one point a bar set was brought out for "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "One For My Baby," another debut performance of a song that will appear on the new album. His performance of the songs was expertly executed though I could have done without the bar being rolled onto the stage. It seemed kind of clunky.
After that set, the singers calling themselves LCB came out onto the stage. The men,
If you've never heard 1,000 people whole-heartedly sing "Only You" with a real live Platter or "Under the
Murphy came back out after LCB's six-song set and opened with a new arrangement of the classic "Come Fly With Me." The tempo was only slightly increased which works for the high-energy Murphy.
The singer then spoke about his family and mentioned that his aunt was celebrating her 97th birthday in the audience. He struck up "A Song For You," (beautifully done by
To me, this was a high-point in the night. The emotion he put behind the song gave me goosebumps.
Murphy's debut of his first original song went well. It was a nice song but it somehow was lacking after Murphy's stirring tribute to his aunt.
The crowd was up and dancing again when the Motown singers came back on stage to perform The Temptations hits "My Girl" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," complete with the oldies band's famous move "The Temptations Walk."
A woman in the front row got Murphy's attention and asked him to perform "Mustang Sally," and to her surprise -- he did. The audience danced and cheered, singing along "Ride Sally Ride," when appropriate. Murphy left the stage again during "Brick House" to dance with his fans, a memorable experience for them.
He ended the show with the Sinatra standard "
It was a great show and a good time. The songs performed were all well-known hits. While I personally think performing classic hits that everyone knows can be perilous for a performer because of the constant comparison between the original and the new, I think Murphy handles them well. He effortlessly brings a contemporary air to these timeless tunes, hopefully bringing them to a new generation of music lovers.
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