Home Read Classic Album Review: Judy Garland | Judy at Carnegie Hall

Classic Album Review: Judy Garland | Judy at Carnegie Hall

The eternal trouper wows the faithful with a bravura, big-lunged performance.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


The average person probably has two impressions of Judy Garland: 1) As a child starlet belting out Over the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz, and 2) As a tragic Hollywood figure who died of a drug overdose at age 47.

This live album should help Garland neophytes fill in some of the gaps in that portrait. Recorded in 1961 before an adoring crowd, the show was a bravura comeback and massive commercial success for the 43-year-old Garland, who woos the faithful both with her big-lunged, what-a-trouper! versions of a whole songbook of classics (When You’re Smiling, Puttin’ On the Ritz, Man That Got Away, That’s Entertainment, Come Rain or Come Shine, Stormy Weather and plenty more, including, yes, Over the Rainbow), peppered with her endearingly screwball, punchline-free between-song patter. A nostalgic contrast to the overproduced, improvisation-free concerts of today, this disc won five Grammys the year it was released. Which proves that Grammy voters weren’t always as ridiculously out of touch as they are now.