“You’ve Changed” was taped at Blues Alley the same night as the album LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY. Eva had previously recorded it in the studio as a duet with Chuck Brown, and since it was on the album THE OTHER SIDE, the song was not selected to be on the original Blues Alley CD. It was later included on the album IMAGINE and the 2-CD NIGHTBIRD album. Eva’s solo version is very different from the recording with Chuck — a passionate outpouring, where the duet was a wistful dialogue.
Fortunately this song is on the videotape made by Bryan McCulley, and can be seen online, but without the complete introduction. That’s a shame, because it shows Eva as poised, confident and beautiful. Much has been reported about Eva’s shyness and lack of stage presence, which was true, but she was working hard at developing those skills.
“You’ve Changed” was the last song listed on Eva’s setlist. It was the end of a long evening and Eva was obviously feeling much more relaxed, loosened up, almost bubbly. Here’s a description:
With a joyous smile, Eva acknowledges the applause for “Take Me To The River,” which preceded “You’ve Changed.” “Thank you, thank you so much. We’re gonna do one more song here, this is one that we did with Chuck Brown.” Pointing, Eva indicates Chuck in the audience.
Chris Biondo, the bassist, is trying to rearrange some equipment on the crowded stage. “What’s wrong? Are you gonna be OK?” she enquires with playful concern. This is one of the songs where Chris plays bass sitting down next to Eva, and with all the equipment that is on the stage, space is tight. With an air of exaggerated long-suffering, Eva sighs, “I’ll move, I’m gonna move.”
She shifts herself and her mike about a foot closer to Keith. Chris sits on the stool with his bass. Even seated, with Eva standing, he is taller.
Eva reaches out with her arm, pats him on the shoulder, rubs his neck. She addresses the audience: “This is Chris Biondo. He’s special.”
She leans in closer to Chris and gives him a radiant smile, just beaming. The audience goes “Awwww.” Chris smiles a little, hangs his head down, embarrassed. Earlier in the evening she had described him as “a little scary,” which is how he prefers to see himself.
Eva continues, “Well anyway, I just wanted to say,” (shrugs) “Thank you SO much for coming out and being so wonderful, and please fill out the” (makes a scribbling gesture in the air) “mailing list things if you’d like to be on the mailing list, and, what can I say, I want to thank the band for being so wonderful. Yeah!” She claps enthusiastically and looks around the stage at the members of the band, making eye contact with each of them.
As if to say “This talking has gone on long enough,” Lenny Williams begins his piano introduction to “You’ve Changed.”
“OK, OK.” Eva responds to his unspoken prompting, and moves back into position in front of the microphone. But for once Eva can’t stop talking to the audience: “And thank you again!” She tucks her hands beneath her shiny blonde hair and flips it out from underneath her guitar strap, a gesture that from anybody else would look flirtatious.
“You’ve changed, the sparkle in your eye is gone….”
At the end of the song, she looks toward the piano, enjoying the last notes of Lenny’s piano accompaniment. “Thank you so much. Lenny Williams. Chris Biondo, Keith Grimes, Raice McLeod. Thank you so much.”
The audience claps, whistles, stands, flash bulbs blink.
Sharon’s voice: “Ladies and gentlemen, Eva Cassidy! Eva Cassidy!”
Copyright 2002 – Laura Claire Bligh. Thank you to Bryan McCulley, who generously gave me permission to reproduce the video images. Thank you also to Louis Scherr of Blues Alley for permission to use the photo of the Blues Alley sign. Please do not copy these images.