Whitney Houston’s power was restraining her superpower. Let me explain. She could run an extended riff with varying range at anytime. Anyplace. But young Whitney wasn’t quick to pull out the magic like a diva on display. At a 1990 concert celebrating Arista’s 15-year anniversary at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Whitney wowed a crowd of tuxes with just-right pauses and perfect pitch. See Whitney wasn’t a grandstander (although she could play that card if you wanted to test the vocals). This song, the fourth single from her number one self-titled debut, was a perfect build. She was true to the song, adding Whitney flair in pockets. Then she let loose culminating in her signature lift off.
A live album while Whitney was alive would have taken a long-term lease on Billboard’s Top 200 (Imaging if Mariah Carey, Brandy, Aretha and Sade fell through?). But Clive Davis, the gatekeeper of all things Whitney, has put together a project, titled Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Live Performances (November 10th). The Voice is amazing in a studio but those vocals unleashed on a stage is one of the greatest loves of American music.
Photo Credit: Tod Kaplan