Chilly Gonzales is tied for the top spot when it comes to live performances that I've seen.
It was a unique experience for a lot of different reasons. It's the only show that I've ever seen at the Winter Garden Theatre, which is easily the most beautiful venue that I've ever been to. The ceiling was covered with leaves. It was almost as if the show was taking place in forest. The setting seemed like it would be perfect for a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was kind of surreal. There was no Shakespeare onstage that night, but it felt like I was watching a story unfold. It was just a guy and his piano, but it felt like so much more than that.
At 95% of the shows that I've been to, the live versions of the songs sound terrible compared to the studio versions. In most cases, it's practically impossible to mix all of the sounds perfectly in a live setting. Because of this, live shows were always about the energy of the performers and the crowd for me. The sound was always secondary.
The simplicity of Chilly's show (just a guy and his piano) prevented it from having any of those problems. Since the sound was only coming from one source, every tiny change was magnified, and Chilly knew how to take advantage of that.
Every song felt like a journey. They felt alive. He handled the harmonies, rhythms, dynamics, and melodies with the precision and subtlety of a true master. That night he painted a beautiful sonic landscape that I'm lucky to have experienced.