Madeleine Peyroux at the Scottish Rite Auditorium

Article Contributed by Philip Emma | Published on Saturday, February 23, 2008

"It was all about the voice tonight," said Ruthie Foster, the spirited opening act from Texas. She couldn't have been more correct. Walking into the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, NJ is an experience in itself. The historic 1930's art deco venue is an extremely intimate theater which holds about 1,000 people in a tight moon shape circle around the stage. The ambiance was perfect for one of the greatest voices alive today. As we walked into the haven, we immediately heard the near perfect acoustics of the venue with the genuine voice of Ruthie Foster. Recently, she has dubbed herself the Phenomenal Ruthie Foster, but don't get thrown off by that. Her vibe has the sweetest most down earth feeling one can take from a girl alone on stage with an acoustic guitar. She covered a great Odetta song, and warmed the crowd up perfectly for Madeleine.

From the opening song, the soft precise tones of her voice silenced the crowd with amazement. From the front of the stage as I took pictures, I could see the crowd shaking their heads in disbelief. How can such a beautiful nostalgic voice come from someone so young? She has "it!" Many people compare her voice to Billie Holiday, but I'm going to be so bold to say that her voice may be even better. The inflection that she uses in combination with the rise and fall of her notes are simply delicious. After the third song, she made a comment that aroused the crowd. She dedicated the next song to all of the democrats in the audience. The crowd cheered loudly, but only one man gave a tight assed east coast, "booo!" Quickly though another member yelled, "That's alright, there's only one of him," and chuckled. Then, Peyroux played her famous classic that everyone unfortunately knows from watching commercials during football Sunday for Dockers pants, "Don't Wait Too Long." She continued to wow the crowd all night with her vocal magic in songs like, "All I Need Is a Little Bit," "(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night," Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose" and Leonard Cohen's "Half the Perfect World."

My first time seeing Peyroux was at Bonnaroo, but I was disappointed because Jurassic Five was blaring across the grounds making it hard to hear her songs, but seeing her in a small theater was a throwback experience that I won't forget. Anyone who appreciates jazz and a voice to die for would really enjoy seeing a Madeleine Peyroux show. The only problem is that at this point she is playing very few dates, but keep an eye out for her next tour...