98 Degrees star Jeff Timmons is crisscrossing the country with Jim Brickman and Friends, performing a holiday concert through the month of December. They landed in San Jose Sunday, November 28. Bottom line, I loved finally seeing him live (I missed the last 98 Degrees tour), and he was the best thing about the show (the French-cuff lavender shirt and black velvet pants he sported at the start of Act 2 were practically worth the price of admission). His voice was in fine form and demonstrated a gravity and resonance absent from the other vocalists. The good is it’s all new material that you haven’t heard before; the bad is there none of his solo album (‘Whisper That Way’) on the program.
Would I go again? Probably not. It is Brickman’s show, and while he’s a skilled pianist, his style’s not my cup of chai. The electric violin soloist is also good, but again not to my taste. The two women “friends” (Anne Cochran and Kristy Starling) did not impress me. They have serviceable enough voices, well suited to Brickman’s contemporary adult romantic confections (“Brickmanized” piano as he called it), but they also each had annoying vocal habits (dropping out of notes before the end of the line and “lounging up” the phrasing).
The show itself had high production values with a better designed lighting plot than most arena shows I’ve seen in the past few years. The twin monoliths of speakers stage left and right did nobody any favors and flattened the sound both of the instruments and the vocalists.
If you’re a Jeff fan, go if you can. If nothing else, it’s a pleasant, romantic holiday concert. The audience is there to see a Brickman holiday show, and from the reaction around me, he delivered in spades. The holiday specific medleys were well arranged and executed (except for ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’, which I loath on principle–if you can stand the tune, it’s well done). Obsessive completists may also wish to know that there is a live Holiday Tour 2004 CD available from Brickman’s site as well as a track Jeff contributed (with Cochran and Starling) to a fundraiser Christmas album for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.