Storm Large

Storm Large

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale, AZ, February 28, 2024

Reviewed by Lynn Timmons Edwards

Storm Large

Storm Large’s name is indicative of her presence. She storms the stage at six feet tall with an ageless voice as large as life. She is irreverent, gutsy, and unapologetic for her language, her tattoos, and her passion for songs—her originals and her covers of the songs by artists she admires. Her opening number “Crazy Train” (Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley) set the tone for an “off the rails” evening. Next, she performed her Fatal Attraction hard-driving version of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” which shot her to national prominence on America’s Got Talent. She said of that experience, “the network machine didn’t know what to do with me, so they released me back into the wild.”

Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” allowed her to rock out, though sometimes the volume overwhelmed the lyrics. Striding the floor with her tambourine, the song was clearly about masturbation. In The Faces’ “Stay with Me” she channeled Janis Joplin just after promising patrons in the front row that she would sing them a standard. Nick Lowe’s 1974 song “Peace, Love and Understanding” was not that promised standard, but she did give a nod to the Great American Songbook with a loud, driving rendition of “Come Rain or Come Shine” (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer). Her band consisted of four talented musicians on back-up vocals, piano, guitar, bass, and drums who kept in synch with her throughout the evening.

She made her entrance in a silver slinky dress and high shoes that grew more uncomfortable as she let loose in performance. To sing “Vampire” (Olivia Rodrigo/Dan Negro) she sat on the stage while a woman seated in the front row freed her of the shoes. This was one of her best numbers, and in it which she told off the person who had broke her heart: “Bloodsucker, famefucker, Bleedin’ me dry, like a goddamn vampire.” The lyrics were raw, honest, and dark.

Large returned for a second set barefoot and in a long, lose dress that emphasized her sexuality, and she began with a hard-rock medley of Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and Lennon & McCartney’s “Let It Be.” She announced that the second set of songs would be about gratitude. She described herself as “sexually omnivorous,” and she dedicated “True Colors” (Billy Steinberg/Tom Kelley) to her LGBTQ fans and invited everyone to sing along. She reached out into the audience both metaphorically and physically, getting up close and personal with its members. She has a huge vocal belt that she can take high, but she also has the vocal skill to sing poignant lyrics in her head voice. Her original “Angels in Gas Stations” was dedicated to one of her adoptive parents who had passed away the previous weekend. She claimed title to being a death doula by having been by the side at least seven dying people, as a way of sharing her bravery, honesty, and humor. Collecting spiritual parents became her rebellion against what she thought was her “crappy” childhood in Massachusetts. She had been estranged from her father who was a Marine who became a high-school history teacher and football coach. They reconnected after he suffered a fatal accident, and she was able to say good-bye to him in the ICU. This story was the introduction to both her belief in spirituality with “The Air That I Breathe” (Mike Hazelwood/Albert Hammond) and to “8 Miles Wide,” her father’s favorite of her original songs. Here she displayed a variety of vocal colors that included bird calls. The title refers to her vagina, and that was one of the many reasons the show was R-rated. Large thrives on keeping the energy level high, and rather than leaving the stage to thunderous applause and coming back out, she sang Queen’s “Somebody” as her finale. As she was leaving, a patron in the front row caught her and asked for the song she had written to honor marriage equality, “Stand Up for Me.” This gave her a platform to plead with her audience to come together in our beliefs for the sake of our fragile democracy. Her lyrics “Be the light, be the answer” rang out, and she cried out “Give a shit, or what’s the point!”

Lynn Timmons Edwards

Lynn writes and performs themed cabaret shows based on the songs of the Great American Songbook throughout Arizona. She has had three short plays produced in the Theatre Artists Studio Festival of Summer Shorts and is working on a full length play, "Fairy," based on the life of Mary Russell Ferrell Colton, a founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona. In addition to writing and singing, Lynn plays bridge and tennis and enjoys traveling with her husband and artistic companion, Bob. Born in Ohio, Lynn is a graduate of Denison University (BA), Arizona State University (MPA) and has lived in Arizona since 1977.