Life is a Cabaret: The Top 12 Liza Minnelli Albums

By Ben Rimalower
23 Nov 2013

Cover art

"Liza Minnelli, Live at Carnegie Hall"

There's only one reason I'm not shouting from the rooftops that everyone should make haste to purchase Liza Minnelli's 1979 "Live At Carnegie Hall" album and that is that it's out of print. Still, people should do what they can to find this gem. This is probably the apex of Minnelli as a singer — any growth she exhibited in subsequent years in terms of lyric interpretation via life wisdom or ever-increasing stage prowess came alongside a decline in the quality and range of her vocals. Here, in 1979, she still had all the high notes and her confidence in performance was staggering. The 10-minute "New York Medley" is unforgettable, and the balls-to-wall "Shine On Harvest Moon" is a joyous victory of style over substance worth any back-alley dealing you have to endure to get these tracks into your collection. I enjoy playing this "Harvest Moon" back-to-back with Minnelli's comparatively demure rendition on another terrific live album of this period, 1974's "Live At The Winter Garden," which is a possibly acceptable substitute for those poor souls unable to score a "Carnegie Hall" fix.