Concert review: Norah Jones serenades Bay area audiences at the Straz Center in Tampa this past Wednesday, August 11

I first discovered Norah Jones when my aunt sent me a care package filled with new clothes, accessories and the singer-songwriter's first album, Come Away with Me. I instantly fell in love with her velvety voice, her heartfelt lyrics, and generally everything about her and her music. I arrived at Wednesday night's show confident that seeing her live would be an event to remember.

The Carol Morsani Hall stage at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts' was packed with instruments that were set amidst a comfortable living room-style setting with decorative lamps and a backdrop of iridescent white draperies. Elvis Perkins opened the show on guitar and harmonica. His phrasing and staggered-singing style made his set seem to drone on and on, and though he had a nice enough voice, his songs were as dry and flat as the personality he revealed in between each tune. He certainly had some potential, but songs like “Doomsday” and “Stay Zombie, Stay,” aren’t exactly ones I could see myself singing over and over. Regardless, his performance certainly heightened my anticipation to see Ms. Jones.

Norah and her “Magnificent Band,” as Perkins called them, took the stage dressed in style and ready to blow us away, Norah sporting short chic hair, a striking red dress, mini-vest, and heels. Norah’s presence was hypnotic and when she sang in that sultry, Grammy-winning voice, she made it seem effortless, like she didn’t even have to try to sound so perfect.