Every live concert that we’ll be attending in the coming months will be unique.
Last night at Crooner’s was no different, as three rows of parked cars and spaced out table seating surrounded the stage, which was set underneath a soft lit tent. With the hushed buzz of cars from highway 65 and the wetlands of Moore Lake behind her, Leslie Vincent put on a magical evening of music. Celebrating the released of her debut album “These Foolish Things,” Leslie performed two sets of jazz standards, a Disney cover, and even a Champagne Drops performance.
There was a reunion for the show, as all seven musicians who played on the album filled the stage. Even their recording engineer, Dik Shopteau, was in attendance. Although spaced out in seating, with part of the audience in cars, the environment from the first note was intimate. “Just Squeeze Me” fired up the evening with the first keyboard, saxophone, and trumpet solos. Leslie settled in comfortably with a huge smile.
The dynamic range of Leslie’s voice was on full display, especially in the third song, the title track from her new album These Fooling Things. A slower, more sultry song, “These Fooling Things” was the perfect blend of silky smooth vocals and a gentle arrangement (featuring a french horn).
Following that came a cover from the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp. This performance, along with the proceeding two songs, “The Nearness of You,” and “If the Stars were Mine,” captured the strength of the first set.
Ending the first set was “Rhode Island is Famous for You,” which featured Vincent giving an anecdote about her father. Hometown pride stretches beyond Minnesota, and the gentle reminder to always remember where you came from was very sweet.
“My dad called to remind me to tell the audience that I’m from Rhode Island.”
Having a theater background may explain why Leslie was memorizing to watch. Her smile is contagious. Her energy to cheerlead her band’s solos at every moment was fun.
Leslie also sings with added movement and accentuating punches. Watching her engage in each song showed a real authenticity and her love of the music. That charm and bottomless appreciation is infectious.
After a sweet singalong of “L.O.V.E.”, Emily Dussault joined Leslie on stage. Tearing up beside her Champagne Drops partner, Leslie thanked all of her girlfriends and dedicated “Our Love is Here to Stay” to them. Leslie kept Emily onstage for a comedic performance of a song inspired by 13 Going On 30, with the crowd laughing along as she performed on the ukulele.
Leslie would return to that ukulele three songs later for a stripped down version of “Moon River.” Fittingly and beautifully, the sun finally set over Crooner’s as she performed the song.
That moment is a reminder why live music is so important. It’s about the environment, the venue, and the unity of people all deciding to take time out of their lives to witness achievements and celebrate successes. That feeling is priceless, especially when Leslie stopped and stated, “Just trying to make music because I love to.”
Ending the evening was Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” The gentle and sweet song fit perfectly for Leslie’s voice. She has a natural knack for picking up any song and making it her own. It felt easy hearing her jump from standard to standard.
Leslie exudes confidence, humor, quirkiness, and the vocal range to knock down any song. And although she’s also involved in theater, nothing about the performance from last night felt scripted.
As a genuine emerging Minneso—ahhh…Rhode Island artist, we are lucky to have her voice among us.