02.11.2004 By RUSSELL BAILLIE
Like that song she played near the end of her often-brilliant sold-out Aotea Centre show last night - the one which she starts by lying on top of the grand piano having just finished the big boudoir ballad Slow Down there. She then slowly reaches over and plays the introduction on the ivories from the other side. Yes, you’d miss that by just listening to the CDs.
It was quite a moment. As sexy as all the Michelle Pfeiffer scenes in the The Fabulous Baker Boys - the one where she spent quite a bit of time body-polishing the piano lid - put together. There’s probably an Italian word for it, though it probably doesn’t appear in any musical theory books.
That New Yorker Keys knows her way around a keyboard from the stool-side is no secret - it’s what sets her apart as possibly the musically smartest of the soul/R&B divas and connects her to pop history.
And there was plenty of past interpolated into the two-hour performance of Keys and band which marked the end of the global touring for her second album The Diary of Alicia Keys.
But her forays into the works of Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips and others - as well as the entertaining, if unmemorable, workouts of her band - showed that Keys is still making a little go a long way.
She has half a dozen or so great songs of her own which came delivered at tactically smart parts of the evening, whether it was A Woman’s Worth up early or Fallin’ near the end of the main set.
But it was easy to forgive the slight lack of personal highlights just on sheer show-womanship alone. From her staircase entrance to her off-stool sashaying to her piano interludes - it all added up to evidence of a major talent who, live, burns brighter than she has on some fairly fiery albums.
And last night - Keys’ last night for a while - her Auckland fans got treated to a scorcher.