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Jeff Goldblum delivers jublient jazz show

Homestead actor enraptures audience with localisms

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Jeff Goldblum delivers jublient jazz show

Jeff Goldblum on stage as volunteers read his famous movie lines.

Jeff Goldblum on stage as volunteers read his famous movie lines.

Photo by Amanda Myers

Jeff Goldblum on stage as volunteers read his famous movie lines.

Photo by Amanda Myers

Photo by Amanda Myers

Jeff Goldblum on stage as volunteers read his famous movie lines.

Written By Amanda Myers, Co-Features Editor

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It may as well have been the Jeff Goldblum variety hour this past Valentine’s Day at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead. The eccentric actor best known for his meme-worthy role as Ian Malcolm in “Jurassic Park” – or for a trove of titillating interviews found across YouTube – returned to his hometown last Thursday for a night of jazz and jokes.

He came with his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, named after a former Homestead resident. The band began in the 90s, but saw its first official release last fall with “The Capital Studio Sessions,” which features live renditions of jazz standards. They’ve been touring sporadically since the album’s release, and a hometown show seemed imminent. Last Thursday featured two back-to-back sold out shows, with a portion of the proceeds going to Tree of Life victims.

For the first show, Goldblum’s voice arrived before he did –  at first lingering from behind a curtain. When he did make it to the stage, he hovered toward the front of, saying how great it was to be back home, before claiming his seat at the piano. A terrible towel was naturally within reach – and like anything Goldblum does- he waved it with a nuance. It appeared as if he was trying to swat a fly.

The fact that Goldblum, 66, was playing jazz at clubs in the city when he was a teenager gives him a proper leg up when it comes to the stereotype of actors transitioning into the musician role. He’s not a singer, even if he can quip some sing songy one liners. Instead, Goldblum took to tickling the ivories and flexing his movie muscle when required over the course of the evening.

In precise moments throughout his hour and a half set, a gentleman would present him with a piece of paper. The paper would read things like “Do Pittsburghers Still Say These Things?” or “Local Businesses That Have Puns.”

People became aghast when he wasn’t familiar with a local Pittsburgh phrase, and shouted the answers back to  him to feverishly. You have to give the guy a break though – he’s been away for almost 50 years.

He didn’t need to prove his knowledge when it came to the music, though. His showmanship, along with his band’s tight playing, enraptured the crowd, while taking them back to the past – a jazz lounge in the 50s, perhaps?

Goldblum was diligent when sitting in front of the piano, though he would occasionally play with one hand, peering over his thick rimmed glasses at the audience. Somebody else threatened to steal the show that night: singer Hailey Tuck, 28. Tuck’s raspy voice and her bunny hop dance moves appeared sporadically throughout the evening. Her black bob moved to and fro when she sang “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” while a seductress emerged on “Come On-A My House.”

Goldblum and Tuck made a dynamic pair, heaping on the schmaltz. Towards the tail end of “My Baby Just Cares For Me,” Tuck shimmied her way onto the piano bench, so that “Jeffy” could reaffirm his love for her.

Audience participation was another interesting note of the evening. By request of a final piece of paper, Goldblum called up three participants to read movie quotes made famous by the man himself in their best Goldblum impression.

Goldblum called upon two participants in the first few rows, while a lady in a floral dress marched herself to the front: she personified herself as “bold” when she arrived on stage. Her and another young woman did respectable impressions, but it was a bearded gentleman that nailed it.

He started with the quintessential stammering made famous by the Goldblum, inching towards his idol before cooing into his ear (it was a pretty romantic moment).

The whole night felt like an over-the-top lovefest, with Goldblum’s warmth reverberating throughout the crowd. I was curious as to who would be in attendance for such a unique billing: would it be confused jazz fanatics, giggling fangirls?

Overall, it was a mix of well-dressed youngins and respectable women and gentleman – some may have even known Goldblum in the early days. People were out on dates or with their friends, with Valentine’s Day simply the backdrop for the return of a hometown heartthrob.

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One Response to “Jeff Goldblum delivers jublient jazz show”

  1. Gary Martin on February 21st, 2019 5:43 am

    It’s truly amazing how Jeff remembers his home town. What a remarkable guy. West Homestead proud

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