Tomorrow, July 1, Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records revisit a landmark album recorded in the heart of New York, New York by one of the most extraordinary entertainers of all time. It's perhaps our most expansive release ever: the very first reissue - not to mention first-ever wide release - of Liza Minnelli's electrifying Live in New York 1979. This remarkable "lost" concert album will be released as a deluxe vinyl set on 2 LPs and an Ultimate Edition on 3 CDs.
When the Oscar, Emmy, and Tony-winning superstar (and future Grammy Legend) took the stage at the legendary Carnegie Hall on September 4, 1979, the concert was already a hotly-anticipated event. It would be the first of eleven consecutive shows through September 14 - the longest run in the Hall's history. Not only that, but every show in the five-level, 2,804-seat venue was sold out. (This record stood until 1987, when an artist played three straight weeks of sold-out shows there. That artist? Liza Minnelli.) She was joined by "Twelve Fellas" in the orchestra, led by musical director-drummer Bill LaVorgna, and two versatile dancer-singers, future Dreamgirls star Obba Babatundé and The Act's Roger Minami.
"The show has three or four high points in which the power and excitement pouring out of Minnelli is almost frightening...Are there any other performers these days who knock themselves out for an audience the way Liza does?" asked Jerry Parker in Newsday. Jacques LeSourd wrote for Gannett newspapers, "The show is dynamite from start to finish. Liza galvanized the venerable hall in a way that I have never seen. She dispenses enough controlled energy in two hours to power the entire metropolitan area for a decade." John S. Wilson in The New York Times declared, "Miss Minnelli is in charge." He elaborated, "[She] has made that rare quantum leap from a status as an exciting performer to the fully controlled realization of her very impressive talents as an entertainer."
At that time unaffiliated with a major label, Liza had the foresight to record these once-in-a-lifetime concerts herself. Two years later, in 1981, she began selling the limited edition double album at her live dates. Live at Carnegie Hall preserved Liza's roof-raising evening from start to finish, including definitive versions of such showstoppers as John Kander and Fred Ebb's "Cabaret," "Theme From 'New York, New York'," and "But the World Goes 'Round." On the Carnegie Hall stage, Liza showcased her full range. She delivered fresh versions of contemporary pop hits and classic Broadway standards from luminaries including George and Ira Gershwin, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, Barry Manilow, James Taylor, and Melissa Manchester. But, deprived of proper retail distribution, the album never reached a wide audience...until now.
Liza Minnelli's Live in New York 1979 (newly titled to avoid confusion with Liza's 1987 Carnegie Hall album) will be available tomorrow in two unique formats. The deluxe 2-LP vinyl version is adorned with the stunning, suitable-for-framing original cover portrait by Andy Warhol and features both LPs pressed in Liza's favorite color, red. It contains an insert with new introductions by both Ms. Minnelli and Great American Songbook champion Michael Feinstein, both of whom served as executive producers for this release, plus photos of the artist and liner notes from reissue producers Joe Marchese and Charles L. Granata. The audio has been fully remastered from the original tapes by Mike Milchner at SonicVision for a front-row musical experience.
But that's not all! Live in New York 1979: The Ultimate Edition will be available on 3 CDs, all of which overflow with showbiz sizzle: Disc One with Mike Milchner's remastered version of the original vinyl release (never before available on CD), and Discs Two and Three with the never-before-released complete show. Liza kept pristine multitrack tapes of all three nights recorded at Carnegie Hall (September 4, 5, and 6, 1979). The multitrack tapes have been painstakingly restored and beautifully mixed by acclaimed engineer Ted Carfrae (Doris Day, Cilla Black) for this premiere presentation, in order of performance, of Liza's Carnegie Hall show from curtain up to curtain down. The strongest unissued performances from the three nights were selected, with previously unheard instrumental textures now revealed in their original splendor and all of Liza's material restored. Here's your ticket to hear what those in the Carnegie audience in 1979 have been talking about ever since.
These tapes, housed with the album masters at the Library of Congress, revealed a treasure trove of previously unissued performances not included on the original double album including:
- James Taylor's "Everybody Has the Blues;"
- Kander and Ebb's "Arthur in the Afternoon" and "Mr. Cellophane" (the latter sung by future Dreamgirls star Obba Babatundé);
- A Minnelli/Babatundé duet of Cole Porter's "You Do Something to Me;"
- The funky disco jam "Dance Across the Floor" penned by Harry Wayne Casey (KC and the Sunshine Band) and Richard Finch;
- And a beautiful nod from Liza to her mother with an a cappella verse of "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe."
The Ultimate Edition, sporting the famous Warhol portrait, is housed within an eight-panel digipak boasting a lavish 36-page booklet designed by John Sellards with:
- Introductions by Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein;
- Essays by Joe Marchese, Charles L. Granata, and Ted Carfrae;
- Never-before-published, full-color photos from Liza's Carnegie Hall stand;
- Special memories from Obba Babatundé, Liza's longtime trumpeter Ross Konikoff, and photographer/historian Don Berry; and
- Exclusive tributes from Liza's friends and collaborators including Joel Grey, Chita Rivera, John Kander, Ben Vereen, Alan Cumming, Donny Osmond, Billy Stritch, Nancy Sinatra, Melissa Manchester, and more.
Those little town blues will surely melt away as you relive this incredible evening with an astonishing artist at the thrilling height of her powers. Never before available at music retail, Liza Minnelli's Live in New York 1979 arrives tomorrow, July 1. You'll find the full track listings and pre-order links (from Amazon and directly from Real Gone Music) for both formats below.
CD 1: The Original Album (originally released on Altel Sound Systems LP, 1981)
- How Long Has This Been Going On/It's a Miracle (4:26)
- My Ship/The Man I Love (5:01)
- Some People (3:14)
- Come In from the Rain (4:57)
- London Town (6:52)
- New York Medley (10:06)
- Someone to Watch Over Me (3:39)
- Twelve Fellas (3:11)
- The Marriage: You and I/The Honeymoon Is Over/Happy Anniversary (9:01)
- City Lights (5:24)
- Cabaret (8:47)
- Shine On Harvest Moon (4:13)
- But the World Goes Round (4:38)
- Bows (1:04)
CD 2: The Complete Concert - Act One (previously unreleased)
- On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe (A Cappella Introduction) (1:28)
- How Long Has This Been Going On/It's a Miracle (4:04)
- Everybody Gets the Blues (4:18)
- My Ship/The Man I Love (4:56)
- Some People (3:25)
- London Town (6:16)
- Come In from the Rain (4:47)
- Arthur in the Afternoon (7:03)
- Cellophane - Obba Babatunde (4:56)
- You Do Something to Me - with Obba Babatunde (1:34)
- New York Medley (9:51)
CD 3: The Complete Concert - Act Two (previously unreleased)
- Jam/Dance Across the Floor (6:52)
- Someone to Watch Over Me (3:59)
- Twelve Fellas (2:50)
- The Marriage: You and I/The Honeymoon Is Over/Happy Anniversary (8:32)
- City Lights (9:20)
- Cabaret (6:59)
- Shine On Harvest Moon/Bows (8:25)
- But the World Goes Round (4:33)
- Bows (1:29)
Liza Minnelli, Live in New York 1979 (originally released on Altel Sound Systems LP, 1981) (Real Gone Music/Second Disc Records RGM-1313, 2022) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Real Gone Music)
- How Long Has This Been Going On/It's a Miracle
- My Ship/The Man I Love
- Some People
- Come In from the Rain
- London Town
- New York Medley
- Someone to Watch over Me
- Twelve Fellas
- You & I/The Honeymoon Is Over/Happy Anniversary
- City Lights
- Shine On Harvest Moon
- But the World Goes 'Round