Review by Matt Bauer
“We hope you came prepared for what Dionne has prepared, ” said the illustrious Dionne Warwick at the onset of her show at the Seneca Niagara Events Center, this past Friday, January 31.
And as the cheers and calls of “sing it girl” that greeted her as she glided into her sumptuous 1964 classic “Walk On By,” it was readily apparent that the nearly sold out crowd were primed for the six-time Grammy Award winner.
Dressed in a black jacket with red pants, the now 79-year old Warwick radiated a noble aura; fabled Hal David/Burt Bacharach baubles “You’ll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart) , “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” and “This Girl’s in Love With You” were sung with a charismatic finesse. If age has diminished her range somewhat, it also lent an earthly wisdom to “Message to Michael” and “Alfie,” the latter performed as Warwick took a seat.
Warwick also had a few surprises to ensure that the evening wasn’t a nostalgia bathed trip down memory lane.
The first of which was a samba-soaked reworking of “I Say a Little Prayer,” sung as a duet with her drummer and son David Elliott, who has inherited his mom’s pipes. The heat carried over with a spicy “Aquarela do Brasil” as Warwick shared her love for Brazil, her adopted second home. A salsified “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” completed the Latin-inspired troika with Warwick breaking out some dance moves while her four piece band-Elliot on drums, Keith Nelson on bass, Todd Hunter on keyboard and pianist/conductor Rob Shrock-took the spotlight with some impressive interplay.
“If I Want To,” a song from her latest cd, “She’s Back” followed before Warwick brought all the right notes-and the house down- with “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” which appropriately would be her final solo song of the evening. She then introduced her granddaughter (and David’s daughter) Cheyenne Elliott for “Love Will Find a Way” which was penned by the drummer.
The two harmonized on a sadly very relevant “What the World Needs Now” as Warwick took the opportunity to lament the current state of political affairs and urging the crowd to do the right thing and vote in November before leading them in a sing along of the chorus.
The show closed with “That’s What Friends Are For” which perfectly
summed up the evening’s warmhearted vibe.