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Randy Edelman’s “Around The World In 80 Minutes” Returns To Chelsea Table And Stage, Saturday, April 9th, 2022: Streamlined For Impact

Two months after his epic concert (here), Randy Edelman returned to Chelsea Table And Stage to perform “Around The World In 80 Minutes” again -his spectacular one man show filled with glorious moments from his long and lustrous career. In February, the 80 minute show ran for nearly 120 minutes, last night he had streamlined the show to a swift 100 minutes. That took a heavy felt tip pen and a brutal editor, Randy was no longer playing a (more or less) linear musical autobiography, rather the set reflected the various musical chapters in his life adding up to the same story told from a different POV.

I took former editor Helen Bach with me and she thoroughly enjoyed the list of cameos from Sondheim and Hammerstein and Rodgers through the Carpenters to Adam Sandler and Bing Crosby, and finally Ted Turner, CNN and Gettysburg. The set flew by and nobody felt shortchanged, partially because only the return visitors knew that 20 minutes of the show were gone. After opening with the song that ended the set in February, Rodgers And Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, he began with a different tone and I am certain that his talking about how necessary it is for a song to have a very central strong idea lyrically and musically was a masterclass in the art of songwriting. Also, it seconded as a subtle but definitive show of support for the Ukraine. I don’t know what Juilliard is waiting for, Randy would excel at lecturing on this stuff.

He segued from Rodgers and Hammerstein to his own ballad “Don’t Forsake Me Now”, a lost beauty from 2011, and then falls back thirty years for his classic “The Laughter And The Tears”, he includes the song with three lives, “Isn’t It A Shame” (two hit covers from Patti Labelle and Nelly) and two songs later gets the one Billy Joel would kill for, “Uptown Uptempo Woman”. It is all building to “Weekend In New England” and his piano playing as fluid and complex as ever, but he doesn’t give the story of how he got there the time it needed as he did so well in February. My assumption is that he thought he had gone on too long the last time he played and he was cutting and cutting, but he didn’t go on too long, he earned every second of his two hour set and if you hadn’t seen both you’d have missed his full story of “Weekend In New England”, where Randy advised a song publisher to go fuck himself after being told to change the tempo from three quarter time. What happened next is he ran into his friend Barry Manilow on the street and gave Barry the demo on a cassette… the rest is pop music history. Randy, obviously due to time considerations, cut the Barry portion of the story. Excising the Manilow was a pity, it missed half the punchline and also dropped a genius level segue between his father’s bad dreams, performing in a form of piano bar, and a reflection to the beginning of his career where he first became friends with Barry working piano bars.

Both the “hahas” and “non hahas” (check out my link above), his soundtrack compositions, were actually a little better, the hahas segued so sweetly from “My Cousin Vinny” to “Billy Madison”, then on the non hahas, where Edelman corrects me on my misstatement that Ted Turner spent 20 years in a mansion putting together “CNN” when he was actually sleeping on a cot. Randy follows the Ted Turner produced “Gettysburg” with the Michael Mann directed “The Last Of The Mohicans”, Edelman mentioned they were both violent, and bangs his piano with vigor and power. Edelman also mentions that when it comes to movie soundtracks, for the composer his relationship with the director is much more important than the box office receipts. More for the masterclass. Both compositions are thrillers and leads us, way before we are ready, to the evenings conclusion.

The night ended with a rousing rendition of “Mack The Knife”, one of the great pop opera crossovers, and Randy was gone. The set sped by, I understand that Randy might have thought we the audience lagged behind him in February, but we didn’t and I still see no reason to have cut a damn thing. When it comes to Edelman more is, in fact, more, and while I loved the set so much and still recommend it, Randy should listen to his audience (who never move a muscle when he is on stage) and play for as long as he cares to, no, wait, longer than he wants to. No word yet on his next performance but I’ll certainly be there.

Grade: A-


  1. Gayle Serle on April 10, 2022 at 10:33 am

    Once again Iman, a beautifully executed assessment of a stellar performance . although missed it this time ( not to happen again) I was at the last and true, more us more with Randy and can never get enough ! .

  2. Randy Edelman on April 10, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    You are so right on….damnit
    Ok next time 3 1/2 hours!!!!!!

    • admin on April 10, 2022 at 3:40 pm

      I am so there – IL

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