I do not know whether he had a bad day on his recital, but not only me but the whole audience was bored - applause was mediocre after the recital. I also think that he probably record much better than plays live - which often case with many pianists whose careers actually did not blown after live concerts, despite their great recording. I think one of the most promiment examples of such pianist is Olga Kern, but topic is known and discussed.
I always had deep admiration for MAH - as long as I knew him from his Godowsky, Alkan, Kapustinn etc, where he really is unmatched. BUT when he switched to classical reportoire, recorded to death by other great pianists, he just fails there - and by fail I mean he is not delivering what one would expect from him. He was also not performing solo recital in Carnegie Hall for 20 years until like one or two year ago,, and they are very picky about their soloits who they choose.
He it "too legato" and "too gentle" oftentimes. You know, Zimerman once said that listener should have an illusion, that you are improvising and not playing notes written previousely. and you know what? you can clearly hear it. He can play pieces we all know perfectly, and you always wait for the next note, what will be there.
When I am listening to Hamelin, I know what will be in next 5 minutes...
you get it...
Again, I am not saying he is bad pianist. I am saying that HIS REPUTATION AMONG PIANO LOVERS is far higher than his actual playing. He did a lot of fantastic things to piano playing in general in last 30 years, no doubt, but for me placing him in line with Argerich, Zimerman etc - sorry, he's just not there.