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Dionne Warwick brings an elegant evening of music to Tacoma
Dionne Warwick brings an elegant evening of music to Tacoma
by Richard Kennedy - SGN A&E Writer

Dionne Warwick

January 21

Emerald Queen Casino


A classy evening show might not be what you would normally expect on a Saturday night at the Emerald Queen Casino, but that is exactly what Dionne Warwick delivered last week. I worried that the night might not be worth my forty-minute drive, in addition to the twenty minutes spent looking for parking, but Warwick delivered to her sold-out audience a very put-together set comprised completely of hits from her forty-five year career. With that much time in the music business, it was no surprise to see practically every age bracket represented at the show singing along to every recognizable tune.

Warwick's band took the stage in black suits. Her musical conductor sat in the center at her piano where Warwick was to take center stage. The crowd went crazy when she entered in her red silk trousers and red & black sequined jacket, looking like a million bucks. The night began with a signature Burt Bacharach tune, "Close To You." It was the perfect introduction to her songbook consisting of numerous Bacharach-David hits. After all, Bacharach picked Dionne Warwick in the early 60's to sing his songs before they were ever hits.

Warwick explained that the show would be a musical timeline of her career after the first song. Naturally, she next sang her first Bacharach/David tune that became a hit in 1962, "Don't Make Me Over." This number shows exactly why she was picked for these now-classic pop standards. She certainly has a powerhouse voice, but she very selectively uses it. "Don't Make Me Over" has a very moody and mellow start before it crescendos into Warwick's beautiful cry to "Accept me for what I am, Accept me for the things that I do&." It truly is a pop masterpiece.

And it was one more pop masterpiece after another. "Walk On By," "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "Message To Michael" continued the 60's song timeline. The numbers were woven together perfectly and tightly. One song would end; the musical conductor would cut the band and immediately kick them off into the next, giving the show a definite 60's feel. Warwick's voice was perfection, and was most impressive during her 70's hit "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again," when she held a note so long that she took the microphone away from herself, filling the showplace with her amazing vocals and then bringing the mic back to finally end the same note.

One upcoming project Warwick mentioned was a duets album she was in the middle of working on. To give us a little taste she performed "I Say A Little Prayer for You" in the style of George Benson, a collaborator on her future album. The pop tune became a funk jam with Warwick even jokingly singing the Benson parts in his voice. The best reworking was the Brazilian inspired "Do You Know The Way to San Jose" that was so authentic since Warwick herself has always worked with Brazilian artists over the years, even recording Brazilian albums.

The night finally ended with "What The World Needs Now" and "That's What Friends Are For." The only disappointment was that there was no encore, and the audience that night was more than ready for one. We cheered and cheered for her to do more, but sadly that was the end of the set. The concert was anything but a disappointment though. I have to admit I was a little unsure because of some of the strange career choices she made in the past. She proved that first and foremost she is a legendary musician; with an extremely classy show that was chock full of classic pop hits.

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