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Live versus Recorded

Printed From: Madeleine Peyroux
Category: General
Forum Name: Madeleine
Forum Discription: Discussion of all things Madeleine
Printed Date: July 10 2020 at 2:16am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.53 -

Topic: Live versus Recorded
Posted By: kobe
Subject: Live versus Recorded
Date Posted: November 03 2006 at 3:02pm

Hello All,

The previous discusion about Ms. Madeleine's live performances was very lively. You who have been forum members for a while have listened to many a posted performances both live and recorded. There is a difference and in some cases it has been pretty distinct. Whether this is caused by the many suggested problems (venue, stage fright, etc) who knows? Also it has been discussed how in some cases her live performances are so much better that the recorded music because of the spontaneity and personal contact she has. Once again who knows. We know that her recorded material is fabulous and we also know that alot of her live material is also fabulous. I cannot understand what happens when she speaks between songs because for a number of reasons that seems to turn people off. I can also understand that you put down considerable money for a ticket. There was one time I heard her on the Mountain Stage radio program and I had trouble recognizing that it was her. It could have been expactations that I had but I was glad I had a tape in when the show came on because it allowed me to listen to it a number of times and also grow to like it. We also know that some people hear different things than others. I remember not to long ago we had a guy who mentioned the names Dylan and Barry Manilow in a disscussion about Ms. Madeleine. Who knows what he heard? So, whether you like Ms. Madeleine live or recorded I hope we can agree that HTPW is a great CD. It superbly showcases Ms. Madeleine's voice and ranks right up with her other CD's. Yes the backup musicians she uses are top notch and I would like to think that playing with Ms. Madeleine is as much a great experience for them as it is for us. So keep up the discussion. Let some of the newer forum members catch up on her live performances (by the way Thanx Lulu for the KCRW live spot).

Thanx - Kobe




Posted By: saramadi
Date Posted: November 03 2006 at 9:21pm
ALL her CDs are supurb. Only the rare person thinks otherwise. It's her live performance persona that is so bewildering. I accept but hardly understand. Just keep singing, girl!

Viva Madi.


Posted By: souldad
Date Posted: November 04 2006 at 11:43am
Here is my frame of reference. One of my favorite artists is Van Morrison.  If you haven't followed his career the past ten years, you would not know that he now more of a Jazz singer with an excellent and tight backing band (his last country foray, notwithstanding).  His vocal phrasing and voice is why you go hear him. His music defies definition. The uninformed thinks he is a nostalgia act and sings Moondance and Brown eyed girl every night - he doesnt -- he loathes those songs.

Back to the point. He is moody, fickle, and mumbles between songs. He has no stage presence.  But he is a musical genius. YOu can see him on Friday, and its the best concert you have ever seen. On Saturday, he is mailing it in, and even though the voice is in fine form, you leave pissed, wondering why you paid ticketmaster $150 for each seat. But you know what, next time he comes to town, you will be first in line because if he is on, you are in for a treat.

Some of the comments I have seen written about Madi make me think of Van. Some people want her to sound exactly like the cds.  Some wish she was something she wasnt. Some nights she mails it in, and sometimes she hits it out of the park, and the beauty is on any given night me and the person sitting next to me will disagree on whether it was an "A" or a "C" performance.

To me, such volatility of perceptions means something very special is going on on stage, and while not every moment may be perfect, perhaps they are half perfect.

Posted By: MrMerkin
Date Posted: November 05 2006 at 4:49am

I would like to respectfully question some of the things Souldad said in his latest posting.

Souldad uses Van Morrison as an example of an uneven performer and says he doesn’t mind Morrison mailing it in one night if Morrison knocks it out of the park the next night. I disagree. Someone calling himself a “professional” should never be mailing it in. A true professional should have enough regard for his audience to give that audience its money’s worth EVERY night. Does the performer owe fans a meet-and-greet after the show? Does he have to sign autographs or pose for fan pictures? Not necessarily (although it sure is a nice gesture to show the fans you care and aren’t just a mercenary). But when that performer stru[m]s and frets his hour upon the stage, I believe the audience deserves its money’s worth.  I can’t excuse a performer as being “artistic” or a mercurial genius if he thinks he can be moody and temperamental and “mail in” a performance.

On the other hand, if an artist truly suffers from stage fright, I have great compassion for such an innate condition that is hard to overcome. If an artist is not a great public speaker and quick-witted repartee is not his forte, I can excuse it. After all, I attend concerts for the music, not for some Kiss/Alice Cooper theatrics or some Barry-Manilow-Las-Vegas-style patter. Finally, if an artist has an off night due to sickness or due to a voice that has become road ravaged, that’s something for which again I feel compassion.

But I can never excuse a “professional” artist who would  just “mail it in” to his audience.

In the case of Madeleine Peyroux, she would always have my compassion if a live show were different from her recordings due to sickness or to stage fright. Those are things she has little control over. Further, if public speaking is not one of her talents, that’s okay. It’s her exceptional talent in singing and playing the guitar that brings me to her live shows.  Hopefully she would never be so disrespectful to her fans as to just “mail it in.”

Posted By: kobe
Date Posted: November 07 2006 at 2:11pm

Intersting viewpoints. Your Insight is great. What really are our expectations? Certainly we do not expect the rock musicians to give the same personal attention that we expect out of folk artists. These expectations differ due to the genre of music performed. We all can agree that the price of tickets are not cheap so we certainly expect our favorite artists to produce their material in some kind of recognizable form. You do not want to hear "I paid $50.00 for this ticket and only got a $15.00 performance".  Then again Ms. madeleine does perform jazz and traditionaly jazz is a little more free form that other musical genre's. I go to live concerts in hopes that the moons align with the starts and the sun and I will hear the one performance that will stay with me forever. It dosen't happen very often and I have walked out of a few concerts in my lifetime. I will continue to go to Ms. Madeleines concerts with those hopes whenever her performance schedule and the contents of my wallet coincide. My concern is how will this effect Ms. Madeleines future. Will it move her to smaller venues and will there be less concerts. I'm not sure that will happen. Here CD's are great and if CD sales are good usually concerts follow. But maybe they will be affected just enough to send a message. Either way as Saramandi says " Just keep singin, girl"

Also, In my previuos forum message above I mentioned a forum member who compared Dylan and Manilow with Ms. Madeleine with the suggestion that they heard things differently. Where I disagree with that forum members opinion of Ms. Madeleines talents I know that we all hear things differently and using that statement in that manner was a cheap shot and I apologize.  

Thanx - Kobe



Posted By: doug
Date Posted: November 08 2006 at 11:12am
No need to apologize, kobe. That wasn't even close to a cheap shot.
Believe me, I know. I just wanted to clear up that the reference wasn't a
comparison of her music to theirs, just that a technically better voice, as
far as range or whatever, doesn't mean BETTER. Manilow is a hack. Dylan
is a genius. That was the point. I have to disagree with you on rather
hearing someone else do Dylan than Dylan. For me it's like saying you'd
rather hear someone else do the Beatle's songs than them. Although I do
admit Hendrix did the best version of "All Along The Watchtower." As far
as "best jazz vocalist of all time" it sounds as if you're far more qualified
to make that assesment than I. I was still annoyed at her for being
awful on a night I took some people to see her after raving about her. But
who cares, life is short. I'm listening to "Careless Love" as I write this and
remembering why I liked her in the first place. Hey, Rumsfeld just
resigned. Things are looking up. No more posts, really.

P.S. kobe, as far as rock musicians not giving the same personal attention
as folk musicians, I'm guessing you've never seen Bruce Springsteen,
Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Pretenders, Tom Petty, etc..., in concert.

Posted By: willow
Date Posted: November 22 2006 at 4:34pm
I am very new to this forum and have been reading a lot about Madeleine's live performances as i am going to see her for the first time in december. After reading what everybody has put it seems that the main concerns are awkward stage presence, appearance etc. I must admit that not of these things bother me as i only want to hear her beautiful voice and am a bit disturbed by a post i read which commented on her weight!
I have seen her in interview and heard some live material from radio recordings and she does indeed seem nervous and awkward which is exaclty how I would be in that situation. All in all I am very excited about going to see her as I adore her for her voice and Queens Hall Edinburgh is a beautiful venue.
I will be sure to come back to this thread and post my thoughts after!

Posted By: mmmm
Date Posted: November 24 2006 at 12:41am
Madeleine's voice is great, but I didn't like her perfomance as well as other people have said. I have seen her in Barcelona. She sang very well, that's true, but it seemed she was singing the same way all the songs. the concert was quite short 1 h. 20 minutes (including two reprises). So, i think i prefer listening to her cd's than seing her live.


Posted By: Jim Rosenthal
Date Posted: November 27 2006 at 10:58am

I saw the DC concert recently. Evidently starting late is not unusual; there was a 45 min gap between the warmup act, Phil Roy, who was terrible, and Madeleine's set. So the audience was in an irritable mood when she started singing.

   Thirty seconds into the opening number, none of it mattered. The last artist I remember who kept us all waiting that long was Miles Davis, and thirty seconds into his first set none of it mattered, either.

Does she occasionally miss a note? Sure- so did Miles, so did Stan Getz, so did Coltrane. Is her stage presence a bit awkward? Sometimes- clearly she'd rather sing than talk. Fine- I'd rather she sing, too. Her weight? This isn't the Playboy Channel. There's no shortage of women "singers" who are pinup girls. All of them together don't even come close to adding up to one Madeleine.

I have been fortunate enough to have seen a few artists live who could make time stand still- Miles, Chick Corea and RTF, Brubeck (believe it or not!), Danny Gatton. All of them had at least this one common quality: passion in their playing, as well as great chops and impeccable taste in what they did. None of them were free of occasional mistakes, which made what they did even greater. You would expect a god to play perfectly. You would expect one of us to be- well, one of us.

When I am lucky enough to find a great and highly individual artist, in any field, I am glad I am alive to have the experience. For an hour and a half in Washington, time stood still again, as I listened to Madeleine Peyroux. Count yourself lucky that you have heard her perform, and that she's young and will be around a long time. With all the processed and canned material passed off as music around, she is something different; the genuine article, the real thing, a real person like you or I- but a genius.

Jim Rosentha;

Posted By: RonJon
Date Posted: November 27 2006 at 12:00pm

I understand what you're saying Jim about perfection not being the ideal. Like you I've seen Miles, Getz, Coltrane & the like...the big difference is that none of them attempted the awkward between song repartee...either because they weren't comfortable or in Miles case, he didn't give a damn.

Either reason was just fine with me, because it was impossible to be distracted from the genius of their art. Unfortunately the same can not be said of M P. Passion in playing? Not in Portland, I'm siding with the other post that pointed out that it looked like she was trying to fulfill a contractual obligation. Passion is not that difficult to witness.


Posted By: Jim Rosenthal
Date Posted: November 28 2006 at 2:22am

Maybe I was lucky. Not all the feedback from the DC concert was favorable, I think. I thought, however, that it was terrific.

FWIW, I have friends who saw several of the same artists (inc Coltrane) and complained that they felt that their performance was "mailed in". Today we might say "faxed in". I guess everyone can have an off night.

Miles Davis said two words at the end of the gig: "Thank you". I heard later that for him that amounted to an oration.

Has anyone heard any of Sam Yahel's own CDs and do they have any recommendations? or his stuff with Joshua Redman? just curious.

Jim Rosentha;

Posted By: Woenie
Date Posted: December 03 2006 at 2:07am

yesterday, madeleine was in holland. The conert was short, and her voice sounds the same all te time. After 3 songs, it's getting boring. so, i rather listen to the CD.

the band was great!

Posted By: RichardS
Date Posted: December 17 2006 at 4:07am
I have read the discussion of Live versus Recorded with interest, unable to
add anything to the argument as I had not seen Madeleine live. In the
past week I have seen Madeleine's performances at the Sage Gateshead
(on the 12th) and the next day at the Barbican in London. Both were

Madeleine's voice was superb, song selection good and delivery excellent.
In-between chat was limited but friendly. Although a somewhat tentative
start , particularly at Gateshead, she soon relaxed and gave a confident
performance both nights, clearly enjoying herself as were the group -
they all linked arms to take the bows at the end of the Gateshead concert.
At Gateshead I was front row centre and so was close enough to see
Madeleine's facial expressions (OK - occasionally she does appear to look
fed up but it was clear that she was happy to be there). I think with
Madeleine what you see is what you get. There is no pretence, false stage
manners or fake smiles.

Whether you enjoy a concert depends on a number of things, not just the
performance - the venue, where you are sitting, even the day you have
had, will all have an effect. I don't want to go to a live concert to see
some over produced glossy performance and hear a simple regurgitation
of the CDs. One reason for going to a live performance is to hear the
performer add something to the songs - this may mean that you do not
get perfection, but you hear things in the songs that you may not have
noticed and makes you go back to the originals to listen anew.

If you want to hear Madeleine sing the songs as they sound on the
recorded versions - pin her picture on the wall and play the cds. I
however cannot wait to see her again when she returns to the UK.

Posted By: kobe
Date Posted: December 19 2006 at 2:05pm

Hello Richard,

I think pinning her picture on the wall and playing her CD's is a great idea whether I go to the concerts or not. I have a couple of her pictures on my computer as random screen savers.

What kind of venues are the Sage Gatehead and the Barbican. Are they smaller concert halls, Clubs or small country sized concert venues where starscopes are needed to see the stage? I am of the belief that she is more comfortable in a smaller venue.

Thanx for the insight. - Kobe


Posted By: RichardS
Date Posted: December 19 2006 at 3:01pm

Both are small(ish) concert halls - the Sage 1700 seats, the Barbican

Posted By: saramadi
Date Posted: December 20 2006 at 8:19pm
Some have liked Madi concerts. More haven't. Everyone save a few (no names mentioned) loves her CDs.

Has anyone ever said she sounded better in concert than she does on her sublime CDs?

Even when I loved her performance in 1997 at the Montreal Jazz Fest, I didn't think it was as good as that first CD.


Posted By: Sebastian
Date Posted: December 25 2006 at 3:51pm
I love Madeleine's live performances.

I have seen her perform in Europe several times now. Each time has been a revelation and sublime in every way.
I recognise some of traits which seem to disappoint some of you. Sometimes she does not sound like the recording with the CD. For me this is just fine. Sometimes she sounds less polished - there is rawness to her peformance, which gives it an edge. Each time, however, her voice has been captivating and enthralls me.

I do not go to live performances for a celuloid, synthetic reproduction of what I can listen to at home. I go for something live and organic. Nor do I go to see a diva performance which is more about the cosmetic appearance, the slick well rehearsed patter. I would admit that sometimes Madeleine seems a little awkward and would also agree that she perhaps suits smaller venues better. However, ultimately I really do love seeing her live. Perhaps I have lower expectations or demands than others, I'd like to think not. I think it is more a case as one forum member put it once, sinking in and allowing myself to enjoy the moment.

It is curious to see that reviews of the same perfomances of Madeleine's can be quite different. See the reviews for her recent Edingburgh show.

I have enjoyed reading all your views of Madeleine's performances. Keep them coming in. I hope you continue to enjoy Madeleine whether in the comfort of your own living room or live.

Happy Christmas - Seb

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