If you've only ever seen the filmed version of the 1964 Judy Garland/Liza Minnelli London Palladium concert, then this disc will be a real treat. It's a combination of two nights in the concert's run; Garland's well-known vocal problems during this time (and acutely witnessed in the filmed performance) aren't as apparent.
The concert was recorded, first and foremost, because Garland owed the Capitol label another album. The previous year had been taken up by the commitments involving her TV series, and Garland naturally didn't want to compromise her voice by overworking it on additional projects. Capitol excitedly took on the album as a "sequel-of-sorts" to her legendary live Carnegie Hall platter.
The 1964 London Palladium concert also showcased a burgeoning Liza Minnelli, only a few months before her Tony Award-winning Broadway debut in "Flora, The Red Menace". She had just released her first solo album ("Liza! Liza!") on the Capitol label, but her ability in performing for a paying concert crowd had yet to be tested. What she lacked in a fully polished performance was more than compensated by her incredible energy and unique charm. She was barely eighteen years old when "Momma" plucked her up to perform as a co-star in Garland's long awaited London return! Her songs, mostly taken from the "Liza! Liza!" album, included such great pieces as "It's Just a Matter of Time", "Gypsy in My Soul", and "The Travelin' Life". A later addition to Minnelli's set, "Pass That Peace-Pipe", came from the movie version of GOOD NEWS, and also acted within the concert as a charming throwback to the 'MGM days' of Garland. Another lively Minnelli number, "How Could You Believe Me...?", might well have been introduced by Garland herself (Jane Powell eventually replaced her in the MGM favourite ROYAL WEDDING after she suffered a breakdown).
While Garland was clearly experiencing some frustrating vocal difficulties during the Palladium season (most of which have been unfairly pegged by biographers as the by-effects of Garland trying to somehow compete in her duets with Minnelli); Judy Garland gives one of her most remarkable performances, in particular her haunting, time-stands-still "The Music That Makes Me Dance" (from FUNNY GIRL), the manic "What Now My Love?"; and a charming "Never Will I Marry".
This was to be Garland's final engagement at the Palladium; one can't help but feel it was her way of "handing the torch" to Minnelli. From beginning to end it's a sheer tour-de-force. Recommended.