Yesterday really didn’t get off to the best of starts, due to a severe lack of sleep, and that was followed up by public transport working against me. Still, it was all in a good cause – I was going to the Jazz Cafe to see Vonda Shepard (most famous for doing the music – on and off screen – for Ally McBeal) performing live.

The doors were somewhat late opening (but that was fine, as I was also late on account of my apparent inability to read the tube map), but when I got inside I was able to grab a spot where I could sit on the edge of the stage and read my book until things got started. First up was Mark Buck playing a few blues tracks. He was really rather good – you can download a few tracks for free from Amazon. After that there was another break while they re-set the stage for the main event.

The venue was really great – in terms of size and atmosphere, it was just like being in The Bar on the show – just without Ally’s neuroses, Elaine stealing the microphone or a guest spot by a big-name music star. I managed to snag pretty much the best spot – right at the stage by the end of the piano – so, unlike when I went to see Bryan Ferry earlier in the year, I was never more than about 10 feet away from the artist.

Vonda opened with this post’s title track, then greeted us “How many of you are here because you watched Ally McBeal?” big cheer “And how many of you were dragged along?” deep-voiced cheer “Lots of men, I see.” laughs. The set included tracks from all of her solo albums as well as some from the Ally soundtracks (some, of course, appeared on both). We also got comments about the number of cameraphones – “All I can see from up here is [mimes holding up phone]” (guilty as charged) – and a plug for her website and upcoming live album and DVD.

The set ended in style with Searchin’ My Soul (the title song from Ally), then we got a three song encore including the dancing baby song and ending with Maryland (the final track from the first Ally CD), featuring some pretty nifty audience participation, if I say so myself. Overall, it was an absolutely fabulous experience – Vonda and the band were really on top form and really seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I had far too much fun clapping and snapping and singing along (although not dancing too embarassingly).