Max Raabe & the Palast Orchester left an almost sold out crowd panting for more at the Merriam Theatre tonight. It was easy to be transported by in the Deco environs of this old Shubert house. The band was seated behind period ivory music stands and Max was astride a grand in his impeccable cutaway tails.
This show is on tour, but every detail including the lighting- cobalts and reds that silhouetted like the bandstand right into the 30s. Many in the audience were in fact in period outfits, Charleston dresses, Gatsby tuxes and a few who really knew what they were doing – Deitrich drag.
Musically, Raabe rescues whole genres of music that never should die. Cabaret German tangos and rhumbas, Berliner torch songs and subtle comic lyrics mis en scenes (a lost art). The audience went wild on exact era musicianship of ‘Happy Days are Here Again’ and ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Dream and Little Dream’ all from the 20s, playing now like a balm in troubled times. But it’s during many of the lesser known songs in German that are done with such artistry and flair that the audience responded to with the lustiest applause. A triumphant night at the theater for this outfit.