Live: Norah Jones Survives A Downpour, Inaugurates Celebrate Brooklyn! 2010 At Prospect Park


Norah Jones
Prospect Park Bandshell
Wednesday, June 9

“Let’s go get wet!” announces Norah Jones, accepting some sort of award during the mercifully be-tented Celebrate Brooklyn! pre-show gala minutes before taking the Prospect Park Bandshell stage on a soggy, dreary, increasingly chilly, not-quite-a-torrential-downpour-but-close-enough sort of evening, an unfortunate circumstance a CB! bigwig encourages us to regard “in the spirit of Woodstock.” Always game, Norah lights her piano on fire and roars through an electrifying “Come Away With Me.”

No. Last year this series opened up with David Byrne performing to approximately 20 million people; it seemed worth showing up to see whether Norah (way less cool, way more Grammys) would command a similar crowd. But the crap weather takes care of that, though an impressive mob still gathers, huddled and shivering and clogging all the sightlines: “You have a beautiful bouquet of umbrellas,” Norah tells us.

The Fall, her latest, is a breakup album, so lately she’s into reverb-drugged sass-country shuffles like “Tell Yer Mama” (“So tell your mama/I said hello/And that she raised you/Too damn slow”). Unfailingly tasteful and profoundly pleasant, but you knew that. The highlight of the new stuff is “Back to Manhattan,” a pretty gorgeous piano ballad, and also a lie: “I’m not goin’ back, though,” she drawls afterward. “I’m sleeping in Brooklyn. There’s birds in Brooklyn! There’s trees in Brooklyn!” Despite the fact that no one can really see her and everyone is soaking wet, this is all way less miserable than it has any right to be, especially as we reach back to relative oldies like “Don’t Know Why” (top-5 all-time Bob Christgau joke lurking here) and the breezy “Sunrise,” which is a ridiculous song to hear as you are walking from one end of the grounds to the other, dodging hundreds of umbrellas and sloshing through increasingly imposing puddles, and yet. Not a David Byrne mass-elation experience, no. But not the disaster it might’ve been.