Legendary singer and actress Darlene Love treated NYC fans to her extraordinary talents in a one-night-only concert at The Town Hall, Love for the Holidays, and what a gift it was! Now 80, Love has not only been endlessly blessed with a powerhouse voice and expressive delivery that have resulted in her countless stage, screen, and recording hits since the 1960s, but also with a charming and gracious personality that make her appealing in every way, both inside and out. She has it all and gave it all, and she got the love back from everyone who was fortunate enough to be there with her to celebrate the season and her long illustrious career.
Accompanied by a top-notch band led by musical director Sam Appiah on keyboards and three blockbuster back-up singers (Milton Vann, Keesha Gumbs, and Brianna Turner), the full instrumentation and rich audio power of Love’s concert continued in the tradition of her early days working with Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound.” The set list included such top girl-group hits as “He’s a Rebel,” “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” “Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home,” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” (from her time with Spector, The Crystals, and The Blossoms), which had the rock-and-roll icon moving around the stage and dancing, and the all-ages audience clapping and singing along to the timeless favorites that “never get old.” Neither does she.
Love also presented a selection of songs from her films (Home Alone 2 and The Christmas Chronicles 2) and from her gospel roots (her father was a minister and she began singing as a child with the local church choir), works created specifically for her by famed friends and colleagues (including Stevie Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen) and ones popularized by other noted artists (Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, The Righteous Brothers). And, of course, her holiday concert wouldn’t be complete without classics from Spector’s best-selling 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You, which featured her on “White Christmas,” “Marshmallow World,” “Winter Wonderland,” and her #1 holiday smash “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – sung annually for 28 years on The Late Show with David Letterman and subsequently on The View – with which she concluded the joyous high-energy show and brought the audience to our feet for a thunderous and well-deserved standing ovation.
The songs were interspersed with Love’s engaging commentary on their backstories and her personal journey over the past decades, generous acknowledgments of the stars who endorsed her and the fans who support her, and video highlights of her phenomenal life and successes (among them, her 2011 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Bette Midler). She also was happy to share the spotlight with the outstanding members of her band, including a stirring solo of “O Holy Night” by Vann, which garnered a long and impassioned standing ovation for him, as well.
If you missed Darlene Love: Love for the Holidays at The Town Hall, you still have one more chance to catch it live this week in Bergen County, New Jersey (information below), or you can put it on your Christmas list for next year and hope that she will return to NYC and The Town Hall with this sensational holiday treat.
Running Time: Approximately one hour and 55 minutes, including an intermission.
Darlene Love’s holiday tour closes on Wednesday, December 22, at 8 pm, at the Bergen Performing Arts Center, 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, NJ. For tickets, priced from $29-69, call (201) 227-1030, or go online. All ticketholders must follow current COVID-19 protocol or will not be admitted.