Tony Bennett at State Theatre, 1/20/13
Photo by Stacy Schwartz
State Theatre, Minneapolis
Sunday, January 20, 2013
At the Electric Fetus, Tony Bennett is filed in a section titled "Vocals." Such greats as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bette Midler, and Barbara Streisand also live in this section. There's a reason that even though these musicians have jazz and pop influences they're given their own genre of music. "Vocals" adequately describes the reason these performers have succeeded for so long. Getting the chance to see one of these historical figures would be seemingly hit-or-miss as they age and begin to fade, yet most continue to impress.
Happily, for the full house at the State Theatre, Tony Bennett showed he's still got what it takes when singing the classics of his youth. Covering tunes by Frank Sinatra, reconfiguring Sondheim, and even making his own music new again, Bennett was ready to enchant concert-goers young and old.
The show began with Bennett's daughter Antonia Bennett performing a short set. While her voice isn't as classic as her father's, it's more than adequate. She stayed in the same style as her father, singing classics by Gershwin and even a Noel Coward-penned tune. She came back on a few times during the show to perform a duet with her father ("Old Friends") and then a final bow and wave toward the end of the night.
Tony Bennett's soundman quickly announced him, and Bennett walked onstage to a cheering and waving crowd. Any fears of his 86+ years acting as a deterrent to his performance immediately ceased as he twirled around and raised his arms above his head, blowing a kiss here and there to the crowd. He jumped right into the show counting off beats for the first tune and off he went.
Photos by Stacy Schwartz
Bennett didn't slow down for the rest of the show, deftly moving from one song right into another. There were perhaps more breaks for piano or upright bass solos than in the past, but that didn't seem to be to show-off or rest Bennett's vocal cords as he continued moving around the stage and motioning the audience to cheer for these great musicians. They were a tight group of five, with Bennett leading the music the way he wanted it to go. He stopped briefly a few times in-between songs to offer up an anecdote or show his age via commentary on his signing to Columbia Records with Rosemary Clooney, or mention that Bob Hope was the one who gave him the name Tony Bennett (after shortening it from Anthony Dominick Benedetto), and then taking him out on the road.
Bennett's voice is strong and he kills those high notes. He bellowed when needed and on his last tune, "Fly Me To the Moon," he just let go and didn't even use a mic. Halfway back in the crowd, he was still clear as day. It's inspiring and wonderful to see that Bennett is still holding strong. His repertoire of songs "that my grandma sang" to partnering with up-and-coming artists on his series of Duets CDs, is sure to keep generations enthralled with his music for ages to come. It was an honor to see this legend perform some of our country's best music for such a large crowd.
The Crowd: 35+ ...but mostly 60+
Overheard: A baby crying (internal voice: wait, what? Why is there a baby at Tony Bennett?)
Random Notebook Dump: I wonder if Frightened Rabbit's song "Old Old Fashioned" was drawn from Bennett's "I'm Old Fashioned?" Similar themes. Both great songs. Hmmmm...
Too Marvelous for Words
Taking a Chance On Love
You're A Lucky Guy
Sail Away (Noel Coward)
From This Moment On
?? (shooting photos here & forgot to write the song down)
Who's Got the Last Laugh Now
Maybe This Time
I Got Rhythm
Cold Cold Heart
Sing You Sinners
Old Friends (with Antonia)
Steppin' Out With My Baby
The Way You Look Tonight
Just In Time
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
The Good Life
Once Upon A Time
The Shadow Of Your Smile
One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)
For Once In My Life
The Best Is Yet To Come
I Left My Heart In San Francisco
I'm Old Fashioned
When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You)
Fly Me To The Moon
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