Welcome to My Living Room
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2007, Volume 14, #11
Written by John Metzger
Sat November 24, 2007, 08:15 AM CST
Spurred by her appearances on the campaign trail where she brought attention to environmental issues and stumped for candidates from the Democratic Party, Carole King returned to the road in 2004, thus ending a lengthy absence from the concert stage. As The Living Room Tour, the souvenir set that she issued the following year, proved, however, she was more than a little rusty. Fortunately, Welcome to My Living Room ó a video document of her August 2005 show in Temecula, California ó fares significantly better. In the end, one wishes she hadnít tarnished her reputation by rushing the former outing to market.
Like most concert films, Welcome to My Living Room is more appealing to those who have a strong desire to relive the event than it is to those who are seeing it for the first time. Yet, over the course of its nearly two-hour length, Kingís easy-going persona radiates such tremendous warmth that the collection remains wholly engaging, regardless of a personís perspective. On The Living Room Tour, King often sounded tentative, but by the time that Welcome to My Living Room was shot, she not only had gained confidence, but she also had developed a tighter relationship with her accompanists, guitarists Rudy Guess and Gary Burr. Itís true that, at times, her diminished vocal capacity continued to mar the proceedings. Overall, however, her singing was less forced, and she sounded more comfortable than she had just a few months earlier.
Thereís no doubt that King is a charming entertainer who possesses a ridiculous knack for pulling melodies out of thin air. While watching her on Welcome to My Living Room ó as opposed simply to listening to her ó as she runs through her legendary canon of material, which includes an array of gems, such as I Feel the Earth Move, Itís Too Late, So Far Away, and Pleasant Valley Sunday, itís impossible not to be touched by the sheer joy she has taken in performing her work again. The subtle looks and gestures that she exchanges with Guess, Burr, and her audience enhance the nuances in her vocal inflections. Similarly, the way in which she sets the mood for many of the songs in her repertoire ó by weaving tales that reveal the details of her life ó feeds directly into the intimacy conjured by her stage setting. Although she arguably hasnít released a worthwhile new album in decades, King does manage, at least in part, to salvage several selections from her increasingly overproduced studio sets. Itís true that Welcome to My Living Room isnít going to supplant Tapestry. That would be an impossible feat. Nevertheless, the concert film does provide a sturdy overview of her career, one which her fans certainly will treasure.
Welcome to My Living Room is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box