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Sunday, January 26, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
"Can't wait to hit the stage and perform for a beautiful audience in Austin." -Tony Bennett via twitter.
Last night I saw one of the legends in music do his thing. Tony Bennett is 87 years old but still puts on one of the best shows I've been to. His voice is strong and he's got more energy than I expected of a man his age.
The show started with what I considered to be a cruel joke: the lights dimmed, the four piece band started to groove and a voice boomed, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Tony Bennett!" A young woman stepped from the wings. I heard a tiny bit of laughter from the audience. Confusion rippled around me, as people looked at one another, their eyes saying, "who is she and why has she hijacked the show?" She began to sing and I wondered if she might be a back-up singer getting us primed for the man himself. Nope, she sang four songs before she mentioned how much she was enjoying touring with her father. Ooooooohhhhh!!!
I kind of, sort of, thought I heard "MISS Tony Bennett" when she was introduced, but it was drowned out by the music and applause. I think she would have been better received if she had clarified who she was after the first song. Specifically: Antonia Bennett, Tony's youngest daughter. Anyhoo...
MR Tony Bennett took the stage after her short set, startling us with the power of his voice after all these years. "I've been in show business for fifty years," he said. "Well, if I'm being honest, it's sixty." Laughter and wild applause filled the auditorium. He sang for about an hour, accompanied by stellar musicians who proved their right to share the stage with- to quote Frank Sinatra- "the greatest singer in the business."
The set list came straight from The Great American Songbook: "The Good Life," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Smile," "The Shadow of Your Smile," "The Best is Yet to Come," "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" among others. He bounced along with the bass notes, did a little fancy foot work here and there and threw in a spin or two.
Then, as if we weren't amazed by his vocal abilities enough, he sang his second encore, "Fly Me to the Moon," without a microphone. His voice reached every corner of that 2,000 seat venue. The crowd listened in stunned silence.
I have to admit that this trek to The Long Center in Austin happened only because it was a Christmas present to my Mom. But after seeing Tony Bennett live, I realize how lucky I was to experience this rare talent in the flesh. A must see.
Here's a video from another concert of the song he does with his daughter. Tony Bennett squared, if you will: