Barb Jungr & John McDaniel: Come Together! Barb Jungr & John McDaniel Perform the Beatles

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Barb Jungr & John McDaniel

Come Together! Barb Jungr & John McDaniel Perform the Beatles

Davenport’s, Chicago, IL, January 28, 2018

Reviewed by Carla Gordon for Cabaret Scenes

Barb Jungr
& John McDaniel
Photo: Rick Stockwell

Well-partnered with pianist John McDaniel, Barb Jungr made her noteworthy Chicago debut in Come Together! Barb Jungr & John McDaniel Perform the Beatles. Under Jungr’s little girl bangs one finds a formidable and very smart cabaret artist.

That the Beatles’ repertoire offers material from the ridiculous to the sublime makes for a captivating show. She is a grand storyteller, both through the varied lyrics and her own personal reflections quipping, “Chicago is cold, isn’t it?”  She also energizes the show through movement that is almost dancing, but not quite. She fares among the few cabaret artists who can turn her back on the audience yet never disconnect from it.

Jungr and McDaniel flex jazz chops effectively with the riffy endings of “Got to Get You into My Life” and “Things We Said Today.” Prosaic yet meticulously delivered details of “Eleanor Rigby” take on power, until we wonder where all the lonely people indeed come from.

“Little Piggies” takes on new context under a political culture often deemed to serve that one percent. The duo put bounce into “I Will,” which is typically sung in ballad time.

This approach makes it more joyful. The volume is wisely pulled back for the languid sensuality of “Something.”

Although Jungr can power belt with the best of ’em, she has us wait for that until the eleven-o’clock number, offering “The Long and Winding Road.” In the hands of Jungr and McDaniel, it becomes not a supplication, but an intense reflection of anguish. McDaniel is also a fine communicator, not only through the keys, but in solid interpretations of “Mother Nature’s Son,” exploring music as a means of reflection, and George Harrison’s plaintive “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Jungr and McDaniel duetted, then invited the happy audience to sing along to “Come Together.” Encoring with “In My Life” took on a newer meaning, as it ended the show with the singers’ appreciation for the moments just transpired of sharing fine musical journeys with their listeners.

Carla Gordon

Carla Gordon is a singer/songwriter, director, and producer. The Chicago Tribune cited her among “Chicago’s most accomplished cabaret performers….a major player in Chicago cabaret.” Reviewer Pam Peterson called her “Honey-voiced wisecracker!” Ageless Magazine called her performance as Sophie tucker, “A gem!” Gordon writes custom material for singers nationwide. Her flagship show, "Blacklisted," featuring songs made famous by artists blacklisted under McCarthyism, has toured to critical acclaim. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Cabaret Professionals and on the Advisory Board of the Skokie Theater. Her songs air on WFMT’s Midnight Special and are being performed performed by cabaret artists nationwide.