When it was announced that Idina Menzel would be singing "Forever Young" before the All-Star Game at Target Field on Tuesday night, I was a bit trepidatious. On the one hand, it was a nice gesture by Major League Baseball to pay homage to Minnesota's most famous local son, Bob Dylan. Still, it was worrying that Menzel -- the famous voice of those Frozen anthems that kids everywhere are singing -- would lack the depth and acuity to pull off the ode to staying young at heart.
But boy was I wrong to be worried. Menzel knocked Dylan's wistful number out of the park.
Menzel was officially on hand to sing the National Anthem, and in what amounted to be a rare move by MLB, she was also given the opportunity to sing another number shortly before the "Star Spangled Banner." Her performance coincided with the introduction of a group of teachers from across the country who were getting recognized for their work by Target, and their presence on the field only added to the significance of Dylan's 1974 Planet Waves' classic.
Menzel -- who joins a long line of celebrated artists who have famously covered "Forever Young" in the past like Joan Baez, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Diana Ross, and the Pretenders -- certainly sang the number in better voice than Dylan himself has ever had, locally or otherwise, giving fresh life to an indelible song that will clearly outlive us all and our fleeting attachment to our youth.
It also proved to be a subtle but touching tribute to the true star of the game, Derek Jeter, who was playing in his final Midsummer Classic. Jeter was playing in his 14th and final All-Star Game, and made the most of the grand occasion, going 2-for-2 while also shining in the field. He received multiple, lengthy standing ovations from the sold-out Target Field audience, and was routinely fawned over throughout the national TV broadcast. So while the rendition of "Forever Young" was clearly meant to honor Dylan's Minnesota roots, it also served as a moving sendoff for one of the game's best -- and classiest -- players.
As for the performance itself, Menzel absolutely nailed it. She was accompanied by a muted string section and a keyboardist, but it was her golden, resonant voice which ultimately carried the song and made the moment truly memorable. Her voice swelled in emotion and passion as the performance carried on, building towards the familiar chorus, which absolutely soared. It was quite moving, especially when the camera appropriately focused on Jeter as the significance of his moment settled in.
Time constraints certainly forced Menzel to abbreviate the original version -- combining the lyrics of the first half of the second verse with the later half of the third -- but she made the most of her big moment (while hopefully introducing plenty of young Frozen fans to the splendor of Bob's work) and certainly won over this longtime Dylan fan.GIMME NOISE'S GREATEST HITS
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