Review: The Palm Springs Divas at Azul

Palm Springs Divas
Eve Holmes – Allison Annalora – Carol Kamenis

On two previous occasions, I made plans to see Allison Annalora sing at Georgie’s Azul in Palm Springs. But the fates intervened, and it just wasn’t meant to be.

This Saturday night was different, there was nothing that could stop me from seeing the Palm Springs Divas perform that evening. Nothing. First of all, Allison is a truly gifted performer. She has an incredible voice, a fantastic stage presence, and a warm personality that perfectly matches her natural beauty.

Second, Georgie’s Alibi, the patio bar located just outside of Azul, is my favorite hangout in Palm Springs. Who doesn’t love the Alibi? Georgie and his husband Paris are both charming and welcoming, and Paris’s sister, Zindy Love, is the gracious hostess who makes you feel like you’re at home with friends. And if you enjoy a sudsy brew now and then, try the Alibi Ale on tap. Delicious. I’m trying to convince them to rename it Alyce’s Alibi Ale, I adore alliteration, but I haven’t had any luck with that. So far…

Now where was I? Oh yes, the Palm Springs Divas. I contacted all my friends and invited them to join me and the Mrs. for dinner and the show, and as soon as everyone said yes, I called Azul and reserved a table for five. We ordered dinner off the prix fixe menu, except my best friend who is on a strict liquid diet, and I enjoyed a truly scrumptious steak dinner with all the fixings. And while enjoying our delicious dinners, we were treated to videos of classic song and dance numbers on the large screen televisions strategically positioned around the stage.

At first, I was a little disappointed to learn that Allison was sharing the stage with Eve Holmes and Carol Kamenis, not to mention special guest Linda Odette. After all, I was coming to see my friend Allison perform, and I wanted her to be on stage as much as possible. But I was wrong! These ladies were all fantastic, and each one had their own style that perfectly complimented the other singers.

Allison opened the show with three popular songs from the sixties, explaining that this was her favorite era. She seemed to glide effortlessly across the stage and into the audience as if she were dancing an inch above the ground, gracefully gesturing with her hands for emphasis. I could almost picture her performing at the Waldorf Astoria, accompanied only by an elegant piano player in a black tux.

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Allison Annalora – Photo Courtesy of Carol Kamenis

After her initial set, Allison introduced Eve Holmes, who could best be described as sassy and bodacious. More jazz than pop, she fully realizes her talents and she wasn’t afraid put it all on display. Powerful voice, she commanded the stage with her presence, and mixed in a lot of humor during her between song patter. Totally different style than Allison, but equally enjoyable.

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Eve Holmes – Photo by Paris Kessinger

The final Diva to take the stage was Carol Kamenis, whose bluesy influence brought a totally new aspect to the show. Her straight forward delivery was perfectly in tune with her soulful voice, and in the best tradition of the genre, she was able to make you feel the sorrow hidden by the optimistic lyrics she sung. Stunning performance.

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Carol Kamenis – Photo by Paris Kessinger

Each of the three ladies returned for a second set, and as an added bonus, Allison invited her friend Linda Odette to perform a beautiful rendition of the song Fallen, which became even more heavenly when she was joined onstage by Karen Mataya to sing harmony on the final verse. Their harmonizing was truly angelic, and I hope that they continue to sing together and perhaps develop a show of their own.

The evening ended with an encore by Allison, who performed a sensational version of the standard Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I know, everybody does it; it’s almost a cliché. But her arrangement was new and different, a modern take on an old classic. Plus it was the perfect opportunity for her to show off her incredible vocal range, and it was absolutely thrilling to hear her hit those high notes that few singers could ever hope to reach.

Now I might be a little bit prejudiced, but with that song, Allison won the evening. But that would really be a lie. We, the audience, were the actual winners. And trust me, there was no consensus at our table who was the best, that would be an impossible determination for anyone to make. The most any of us could say is that they were all incredibly talented, and although each one of us might have had a favorite, that was a more a matter of musical taste than an assessment of talent.

I can’t remember when I’ve had a more enjoyable evening in recent years, and urge everyone to go see these wonderful singers whenever you get the opportunity. I’ll keep you updated when I learn of upcoming events, and maybe we’ll all meet at the next show. And now that the Summer heat is breaking, there’s no better place to enjoy a refreshing, after work cocktail, than beneath the desert sky at the Alibi patio bar.

 

My gratitude to Paris and Carol for allowing me to use their photographs for this article. Georgie’s Alibi is located at 369 N Palm Canyon Dr. in Palm Springs, just south of Alejo. They are open for lunch, their burgers are wonderfully delicious, plus they have a great selection of bar food. I’ll see you there…