September 29, 2016
The rich vocals of Inara George (aka The Bird) and the intricate multi-instrumentation of Greg Kurstin (The Bee) are jazzy daydreams in paradise. Unfortunately, The Bee could not make this trip; he’s quite busy producing and working with the likes of Adele and Sia, among many others.
In the end, however, nothing seemed amiss about The Bird and The Bee Wednesday night at Underground Arts. George and a tight group of three performers, including Alex Lilly, Wendy Wang and Samantha Sidley, navigated through the band’s exquisite pop catalog to phenomenal effect.
George’s effervescence was contagious. She engaged with the audience by singing directly to some members and by allowing others to sing into her mic. She asked the crowd to toss out questions while she resolved some equipment issues. She solicited cheesesteak suggestions.
“Again & Again” was gorgeous, even more so after an unintended false start. “Preparedness,” from the encore, will not soon leave my feet and head. George joked that there are always extra spots on the band's guest list, including for Hall & Oates. The Bird and The Bee’s sublime covers album, "Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates," was then wonderfully represented in “Sara Smile” and “I Can’t Go for That.” The backing vocals and dancing of Lilly, Wang and Sidley helped complete the mood. The evening ended in odd, fascinating form with George performing with what seemed to be a live-streamed Kurstin on piano. It was one of the most memorable shows of the year.
Sidley opened with a tight set of songs in her live debut with others from the band. A strong vocalist and performer — and an “American Idol” alum — she showed she can hold the stage on her own.