I must preface this review by admitting that before the concert, I wasn't a particularly huge ALW fan. I've seen a few of his shows and though I've enjoyed them... I've never felt the desire to purchase any of the cast recordings. But now, an entirely different image springs to my mind when I think of ALW's music after hearing Kevin sing various selections with the California Philharmonic.
I've seen "Cats" when it toured here in Hawaii in 1994 and at the time, "Gus the Theatre Cat" was just another song...a song among many that I wouldn't remember 8 years later...HOWEVER, in Kevin's capable hands it became an extremely touching number and one of my favorite moments of the entire concert. I think it was Kevin's keen ability to "act" out his songs, instead of just sing them that gave each number a life of its own. In "Gus the Theatre Cat", he did a superb job of mimicking the hoarse, raspy voice of Gus, the old, weather-beaten cat who had seen and been in his share of great theatre. Kevin's ability to create the illusion of an entirely different character with just his voice was just remarkable.
Another one of my favorite moments had to be the rousing rendition of "Oklahoma!" that began the second act. I'm a huge R&H fan and had longed to see Kevin in the role of Curly McLain since I saw him in 1776 and he definitely didn't disappoint. One of the most enjoyable things about the number was watching the fun Kevin was having on stage. It was rather obvious from his energy-filled performance that he was having a blast and the energy definitely transferred to the audience.
I couldn't end this review without mentioning his heart-stopping rendition of "Edelweiss" - one of my all time favorite R&H songs. It was so beautiful and sang so tenderly that there wasn't a dry eye at our table when he was done. That song alone was worth the trip to LA...
It was such a magical evening and what made it even more special was seeing Kevin so happy and seeing his entire family there to support him. I got a little teary when he exclaimed, "It was such a wonderful evening! I had so much fun!" when I saw him after the show. As a Kevin fan, the night was one that I would long remember....I'm so glad I was there to experience it.