Harry Connick Jr. on new tour, pandemic recording, ’24′ and ‘Independence Day’

Harry Connick Jr. is performing at Cadence Park Amphitheatre at Chastain Park August 26, 2021. GAVIN BOND
Harry Connick Jr. is performing at Cadence Park Amphitheatre at Chastain Park August 26, 2021. GAVIN BOND

Credit: Gavin Bond

Credit: Gavin Bond

He comes to Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Aug. 26.

Harry Connick Jr. has been touring regularly for more than three decades. Even when he wasn’t on an official tour, he would sing at the the occasional private event.

So the 18-month pandemic break was easily the longest one he’s ever had, giving him a chance to spend time with his wife and three daughters, record new music and binge TV shows.

Naturally, Connick is thrilled to be back on the road, singing again before a live audience and joking around with his crew and musicians. His current tour stops at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park in Atlanta on Thursday, Aug. 26.

Don’t expect any rust. Connick has such an experienced band, he only needed one day of rehearsal with them to go over the potential setlist, including all his new songs. “You show them the music, tell them what you need and they’re good to go,” he said in a recent interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They’re amazing. This is complex stuff but they’re professionals.”

The playlist is not set in stone, even at the start of the concert. Connick makes decisions on the fly, based on his own feelings and how he’s reading the audience, comparing himself to an NFL quarterback.

“They have these plays and you have to improvise a lot,” Connick said. “You can have a game plan but may need to throw it out in real time. The audience is like the defense. You try to imagine what they are feeling. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s what makes it fun. I love what I’m playing. I love taking chances.”

While at home in his own studio, he recorded “Alone With My Faith” all by himself, including the instrumentation and production. “It took a long time to make it sound like an album,” he said. “Fortunately, I have a pretty nice collection of instruments. A sax, a trumpet, a trombone, different percussion. It was nice to be able to take them out and mic them and record them.”

The album itself was a rumination about life and loss. “People that I knew were dying from COVID,” he said. “I lost like 10 people over the course of the year including some who died for other reasons. You couldn’t have a memorial service or traditional wedding. It was just a trying time. So I had these feelings about my faith. Sometimes my faith is rock solid. Sometimes, I question things. It felt appropriate to document some of it musically.”

For the first time, Connick said the production of an album was actually therapeutic. “I was singing about things I was feeling in real time,” he said. “Normally when you do an album, you sing about things that may have happened in the past. In this case, I would press the record button and no time had elapsed from where I was mentally.”

Connick had downtime for the classic TV binge, too. He and his family during the pandemic watched all nine seasons of the Fox drama “24″ on Hulu. “We became obsessed with it,” he said. “We now know every line from every season! Jack Bauer is no joke!”

It’s been a quarter century since he himself played an action hero in “Independence Day,” which became a classic over-the-top summer popcorn film. “It was a good, solid movie with a good, solid story line,” he said. “But I don’t think my kids have even seen it. I haven’t seen it since it came out. We’ve never talked about it!”


Harry Connick Jr.

8 p.m. Aug. 26. $20-$117. Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park, 4469 Stella Drive NW, Atlanta. livenation.com.

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