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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Donny Osmond

One Night Only

Review by Gary Hill

It's interesting how perceptions are altered when you just listen to something version seeing and hearing it. I reviewed this same show in DVD form in the last issue of Music Street Journal. This time around I am reviewing the double disc CD set of the same concert. There is a lot of stage banter in this performance, creating a loose vibe and a bit of an intimate feeling to the show. In fact, I would hazard to guess that somewhere around half of the two CDs is taken up by talking rather than music. When viewed as a DVD all the talk worked, and seemed to be part of the entertainment. When you remove the visual aspect, though, it starts to become less entertaining. For that reason, while I'd land the DVD in the territory where it would probably appeal to a wide range of people, the CD set, I'd think, would be mostly for people who were at the show and hardcore Donny Osmond fans.  It should be noted that I've included the track list as presented on the disc, but there are a couple tracks that seem to have the wrong titles.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Disc One

The audience sounds at the start of the show are rather extensive. Some electronic grooves rise upward. It's almost a minute and a half before it really powers up into any kind of rocking jam. They start this out with the Rare Earth song "I Just Want to Celebrate.". After running through that for a bit, it completely shifts gear with the guitar riff from The Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up," but as it shifts to the next vocal section, it's a different tune yet. The changes continue working through different "celebration" tunes. It's quite a fun medley, and a great opener.

Puppy Love
Here Osmond and company put in a rather jazzy, bluesy kind of rendition of his early hit song. This arrangement almost feels like something that would have been at home in the 1940s.
Let's Stay Together
A classic old school R&B tune, this is a solid performance. There is a lot of stage banter here. Osmond talks about how some songs just always belong to some artists, and they do a bit of "One Bad Apple" here.
Long Haired Lover from Liverpool
This is just a party type piece. It includes a lot of singing from the audience. The end of this song includes a lot of talk, too - explaining the lead up to the next track. In fact, the bulk of this is not song, but rather stage banter.
Sacred Emotion
A slower R&B groove is at the heart of this. It's another entertaining tune.
Any Dream Will Do
A song from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," this gets a lot of crowd singing. It's another that feels like a party. There is also a lot of storytelling and banter at the end of this piece.
Breeze on By
This song was written by Osmond based on "Breezin" by George Benson. It's a tasty smooth jazz tune. In terms of music versus stage talk, this is one of the longest cuts here.
The Long and Winding Road
A rendition of The Beatles classic, this gets a bit of soulful edge here. Still, it works quite well. While this rendition is fairly short, we get several minutes of story-telling here. Much of it is about Paul McCartney.
Could She Be Mine
Another soulful R&B groove drives this tune. There are some cool jazz elements here. There is a real Vegas sound on this thing. While this has a lot of stage banter at the end, it's actually one of the longer ones in terms of the actual song.
My Love is a Fire
The funky vibe on this number is classy. This is one of the more rocking cuts here. It's a very effective one, too. This has a lot of jazz in the mix, too.
Disc Two

A full on jazz jam starts things in the second half of the show. It shifts out into a smooth jazz vibe from there. It powers up a bit more as the song starts to take shape into the classic Steely Dan number. I'm not crazy about the lines where Osmond does a falsetto, but this cut gets turned into a funky kind of soulful groove, while still preserving a lot of the Dan magic. An extensive section later features the back up singers as Osmond brings people up on stage for pictures.

Private Affair

A classy adult contemporary styled number, this is an effective one. There is a lot of talking on this cut, too.

I'll Make a Man out of You
This cut is from the Disney movie Mulan. This cut has a rock meets Broadway music kind of approach. It's definitely theatrical, but given the source, that's to be expected. This is just a minute and half (roughly) long.
Soldier of Love
Military drumming opens this. Sounds of military radio chatter comes across. It works through the intro before getting a short military drill chant. From there we get a strictly percussive element for the backdrop for the vocals. It gets powered up from there to a pop meets R&B kind of vibe. At the end of the song we get more stage banter, this time a big part of it is about someone in the audience winning a CD. Osmond also tells a story behind the next song.
Moon River
This old chestnut gets a surprisingly faithful live rendition here, focusing on keyboards and vocals. Osmond's voice seems particularly well suited for this cut. There is a short clip during this of a five year old Donny Osmond telling Andy Williams his name and age. There is a lot of stage chat at the end of this.
Young Love
This old school rocker includes a spoken part where Osmond does it Elvis style. There is a bit of an Addams Family theme bit at the end of the actual song. More talking is included here. 
12th of Never
While the title here shows as "12th of Never," Osmond says the song is "Why?" A fairly short number, this works well and has more conversation at the end of it.
When I Fall in Love
This song is actually a short take of "Go Away Little Girl."
Love Me for a Reason
A solid adult contemporary song style is on the menu here. Again, there is a lot of story telling at the end of this number.
Whenever You're in Trouble
A mellow song, this has a lot of that adult contemporary thing in place. This gets a more powered up arrangement further down the musical road. Again there is a lot of talking  (with a bit more music in the midst of it) here.
Close Every Door

We are back into musical theater music here. This comes in stripped back, but gets more powered up later. There is a lot more stage talk at the end of this.

A powerful cut, this really has an empowering vibe to it. It's part jazz and part pop rock, but more adult contemporary than anything else.
Crazy Horses
Here we get a live version of the classic Osmonds rocker. This still holds up really well. It's the highlight of the set for me.
This is the Moment
A powerful adult contemporary song, this is a solid closer for the show and the album. I love the guitar solo near the end of this. It's meaty.
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