Entertainment » Music

The Amsterdam Concert - December 1960

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Monday Nov 12, 2012
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The year was 1960. "The Sound of Music" and "Fiorello" tied the Tony Award for Best Musical, and Billy Wilder’s "The Apartment" won the Academy Award for Best Picture. That same year, on one special evening in Amsterdam, Judy Garland gave a one-night only midnight performance in front of an appreciative audience at the Tuschinski Theatre. The concert was simulcast on the radio for those to enjoy at home, and now First Hand Records has released the broadcast, titled, "Judy Garland: The Amsterdam Concert, 1960."

Recovering from a serious bout of hepatitis that caused doctors to caution her that she might never perform again, the 38-year-old mother of three slowly began a string of impromptu European dates that included this concert, recorded by the Dutch station ARVO and presented on December 10th.

The two-disk set begins with almost fifteen minutes of interviews with Garland, her husband Sid Luft, and her conductor Norrie Paramor, followed by a 5-minute instrumental overture by the Jos Cleber Cosmopolitan Orchestra. Finally the diva begins her set, and its obvious that the audience recognizes that it is part of a special evening. This recording encapsulates the progression of the concert all the way through the over two-dozen songs and four encores, from "When You’re Smiling," through "The Man That Got Away," "That’s Entertainment," "I Can’t Give You Anything But Love," and the seldom heard "You’re Nearer" to her timeless hits "You Made Me Love You," "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," and "Over the Rainbow." The producers even include the majority of the verbal accolades heard during the evening.

Garland is in fabulous voice here. Considering the shortcomings of the technology used (as opposed to the Carnegie Hall concert that would be recorded in 1961, this recording was taped in mono strictly for the radio broadcast), the singer’s amazing ability to welcome any audience into her world, and give them a two-hour-plus concert blatantly showed the strength of her desire to entertain, and the ultimate level of comfort that she had when on stage.

"Judy Garland: The Amsterdam Concert, 1960"
Judy Garland
CD and Digital formats
First Hand Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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