Unconfirmed Memory from Mariah Carey’s “I’ll Be There” performance on MTV Unplugged

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I’ve been participating on Reddit’s /r/softrock, a community that posts a wide variety of toned down songs from rock’n’roll to pop music. It introduces people to tunes from days-gone-by more so than current music. I’ve had a habit of trying to mix in songs that I cross that are from more recent days (and they tend to e from unknown or little-known artists) as well as things from the 1960’s through the 2000’s. Others are doing the same over there and it’s worth looking into if you’re into soft rock.

The subreddit seemed like the proper place to inquire about something from music history that I can’t verify. Something I was exposed to so often but can’t visibly or audibly be re-introduced to… Unless I’m wrong on what I thought I saw (over and over again)?

I liked MTV Unplugged, especially when artists went out of character and went to limited instead of electric and intense. Mariah Carey is intense with her vocals no matter what, so the setting was fine for her. What wasn’t fine, I think, was an unaware audience hearing the vocal range of Trey Lorenz.

Below is the released recording of Carey’s performance of “I’ll Be There”. It’s not the Unplugged video, as that has disappeared from the Internet.

And here’s what I wrote on Reddit after I shared this song on /r/softrock:

Am I wrong? I have done web searches and haven’t found reference to this. Bringing this up with friends on social media hasn’t drawn a response nor have I crossed people talking about it. I swear crowd reaction was part of this performance. Yet it was edited out.

I can understand an artist wanting things taken out – embarrassment being one reason, or wanting perfection. At the same time, the distinctiveness really helps push a live performance as genuine. It’s also a distinction in recorded songs, where unintended things are in hit songs (“Hey Jude” by the Beatles has a profanity muttered in the background for example).

I have to ask if I’m wrong for one very specific reason: The guy doing this writing was losing his natural hearing during the 1990’s. While I was nowhere near stone deaf, I know my audio was not keen… But audio doesn’t change what I saw with Carey and the band holding back for a few seconds while the crowd screeched from Lorenz falsetto. I’m certain I saw that. Multiple times. It’s not like an MTV Unplugged telecast was a one-time airing on MTV. Repeat showings were common, and if I remember right, Carey’s show also aired on VH1 at times.

Maybe intense searching would find back-story and confirm things. I haven’t had luck and only crossed concert performances of Carey and Lorenz instead of actual writings about things. That keeps things unresolved.

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One Response to Unconfirmed Memory from Mariah Carey’s “I’ll Be There” performance on MTV Unplugged

  1. Anon

    Mariah’s MTV Unplugged was taped, as the one shown in MTV was dubbed. You can find the undubbed audio of the concert in youtube as her fans actually do not burry things whether its a good performance or not. Although the whole I’ll Be There undubbed version cannot be found I believe, because the uploader said that it was taken down by Youtube for copyright, however, with regards to her other performances in the Unplugged concert, there were two versions of two songs, Vision of Love and Emotions, I think, because one of Sony ppl said that the first one is not that good. Mariah sang good in MTV Unplugged but they wanted the more polished version to be shown. There were also a video floating around regarding her I’ll Be There performance implying that Mariah changed some parts for it to be perfect, rerecorded it in the studio, but I believed that just like in Vision of Love and Emotions, the I’ll Be There performance has two takes. In the scrapped take, there was a part where Trey’s voice was a tad thin and a bit pitchy while in Mariah’s case, there was a lyric that wasn’t exactly sang with the melody (delayed). Originally, she’ll only have to sing her songs but MTV just told her to add a cover and chose I’ll Be There.

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