It was 30 years ago this month that the world lost The Carpenters lead singer, Karen Carpenter. When the tribute band, Close to You, took to the stage on Feb. 24 at Paradise Performing Arts Center, it was as if the band had been reunited, and Karen was singing the songs the fans know and love.
Michelle Whited, lead singer for Close to You, has a sultry, illustrious voice that is a near-match of the late Karen. Her energy and presence added to the excitement of hearing The Carpenters’ music live. “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “Superstar,” and “Only Yesterday” were just a few of the songs the band covered with passion during their performance. A cover of “We’ve Only Just Begun” was welcome by the audience with applause at the beginning of the song.
Whited was not the only thing reminiscent for fans of the ‘70s pop group. The six-member band also consisted of Jason Galbraith on the woodwinds, who would alternate between that; the clarinet; the saxophone; and other instruments during the two-hour performance. There was even a time when Galbraith had a shaker in one hand and the clarinet in the other – playing both instruments without missing a beat.
The rest of the band included Don Stamey on the keyboard/piano; Jay Posey on the bass guitar; Ryan Martell on the guitar; and Gary Simington on the drums. Each performer was a perfect match in their respective position for paying tribute to The Carpenters.
The Carpenters were known for making beautiful music that a live tribute band may have trouble recreating. “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft,” a song that reportedly used $130,000 of materials, sounded incredible through Close to You, who, obviously, didn’t use that much for their version of the song.
Close to You is a must for any fans of The Carpenters.