Many of the more senior celebrities that I am fortunate enough to sometimes meet and often see in concert are staying on the road past their “best if used by...” date. Most are in their early seventies when they start to see that the talent that made them into a superstar is beginning to dull if even slightly. This is about the time you will see many on their “Farewell Tour”.
Some recent examples are Barry Manilow, who was quite extraordinary in his farewell performance. Barbra Streisand whom I had to fly to LA to see. Seeing her in the backdrop the Hollywood Bowl was incredible but she very clearly had a few issues getting her voice to places that in the past would have been second nature for her. And who could forget Cher's over four year Farewell Tour.
Whether it is Streisand, Manilow, Johnny Mathis, or whomever, there is one thing to be prepared for when seeing most artists who have past a certain age. Be prepared that they will no longer be able to reach some of the places their voice has taken you in the past.
Fortunately, this is not the case with Tony Bennett. Performing a nearly ninety minute set of classics, many abbreviated, I assume so he could include as many favorites as possible. At 90 years old Bennett shows no signs of aging and the notes you think he would not attempt any more are not only there, they are as good as they ever were. I attribute this to his non stop performing over the years.slowing.
Bennett has released over 70 albums, won some 19 Grammy's and in recent years introduced himself to a new audience joining forces with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga all the while not giving up his style rather he has brought these younger incredibly popular artists into his world and their legions of fans along in the process. Backed by a simple quartet and a patterned curtain, the focus of this show was where it belonged. On Bennett and his incredible voice. As he seamlessly moved through classics like “Our Love is Here to Stay”, “The Way You Look Tonight” and of course “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” Fresh arrangements made them feel new.
Bennett who magically made the 2,056 seat Bass Performance Hall feel like a small NYC jazz club where I was sharing Tony Bennett with maybe a hundred people, not the over two thousand that were actually in attendance. This is part of the magic of Tony Bennett. This paired with the still perfect vocals and the fresh arrangements is likely why Bennett is still enjoying sold out shows everywhere he goes at the tender young age of 90. Given the opportunity a Bennet show is one that you do not want to miss. Find out when your next chance to experience Tony Bennett is coming at: http://www.tonybennett.com/
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