Friday, September 13, 2013

Tony Still Has That Old Black Magic! Part Two Bennett Singapore 2013 Show Review

Without fanfare, Tony Bennett came on stage and stood with his jazz quartet rather than in front of them. He had been introduced by his daughter Antonia who had kick-started the evening with her lot of songs that included Embraceable You and five other tunes.
Images by courtesy of RunningIntoTheSun

Under the quietly dimmed, blue lights Bennett wooed his audience with his raspy voice and friendly disposition. There were no pyrotechnics, flashing lights, huge screen backdrops or half-dressed sizzling ladies dancing around a wrecking ball.

Bennett gave his all that night. Although I cannot recall some of his songs at the concert I remember most of them, Watch What Happens, They All Laughed, Maybe This Time,  Just In Time, One For My Baby, and my own jazz anthem, I Got Rhythm.

His banter on stage was lively and connected lyrics from "old songs" (his description) like, Who cares  to current situations:

Let it rain and thunder,
Let a million firms go under.
I am not concerned with
Stocks and bonds that I've been burned with!*

Without much ado and hardly a sip of  water he continued with, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, For Once In My Life, That Old Black Magic and The Good Life for good friend Lady Gaga.

It was loud and clear when Bennett introduced his band, "drummer Harold Jones was Count Basie's best" and double-bass player is "Marshall Wood" but because my wife and I sat some distance behind we couldn't hear the names of the pianist and guitarist.

Checking the websites I found out that they could be Lee Musiker and Gray Sargent respectively but I am not sure.  As a quartet these gentlemen were incomparable and when each gave his solo performance or accompanying Bennett singly they were masters with their artistry and skill. 
Images taken at Star Performing Arts Centre Singapore, 11th September, 2013.
He embraced the audience with his classics while they clapped the evening on. The Way You Look Tonight, The Shadow Of Your Smile and his signature tune, the magnum opus by Cory and Cross from 1953,  I Left My Heart In San Francisco seemed like new compositions when the maestro interpreted these evergreens.

He did a special duet with Antonia who came back on stage as both sang, Old Friends.  In between melodies Bennett said that once he received a letter from Switzerland where the writer thanked him for resurrecting a song. He was surprised when the signature was Charlie Chaplin's who composed,  Smile.  Following the theme he sang, When You're Smiling.
Near the end of the concert Bennett remarked,  "We travel all over... but we're so impressed with Singapore. Usually we can't wait to go to the next town after a show but here... we wish we could stay for a week." 

Bennett's grand finale came as a surprise when he sang, Fly Me To The Moon without the microphone but although we were three quarters hall away we could hear him bright and without strain. Talk of voice power and his age. Are you listening Stan Lee?

The fantastically enthusiastic crowd wanted more and the band waited in anticipation but he left the stage to a standing ovation. 

That old black magic has me in it's spell
That old black magic that you weave so well

I hear your name and I'm aflame...**

Images from: Running Into The Sun feature Antonia and Tony Bennett @ Star Performing Arts Theatre on 11.09.2013. Copyrights Reserved.

*Song: Who Cares? by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, written for 1931 musical Of  Thee I Sing.

**Song: That Old Black Magic. Music written by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

Original Review by Andy Lim.



From TODAY Singapore online:

So why was I there? Because Bennett is one of the last of his kind. Bennett never once let his foot off the pedal. There’s something about the way he smiles, the way he seems to be genuinely excited to be onstage, and the way he is always more than happy to share the attention with his four-piece band, that makes you feel a certain warmth towards the man.


The Straits Times September 13th 2013 LIFE section:

The longest lasting singer keeping the standards from the great American songbook alive today, Tony Bennett makes everything he does on stage seem so easy...

Bennett's back jazz quartet were minimal but outstanding...

Her delivery was ultra smooth and she carried each melody with ease...

(I could not find the on-line version of this review but you can read it from the hard copy. ( written on Friday14.09.2013)

ALYCIA said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the lovely review.


I'm pretty pleased to find this great site. I want to to thank you for your time for this fantastic read! I definitely really liked every bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to see new things in your website.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for writing and visiting.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Ram,
Managed your connection through Mel's FB. Could I share the John Lennon quote with readers on my blog? Let me know about it and I'll put it up asap. Thanks.


Go ahead Bro. Take care UP & ON

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Alycia very much. Glad you like it.


Mr. Tony B is blessed, and hope I can do my work with Special needs kids and my hobby with my percussions as long as I can like him.

Best Wishes Always,
Albert Louis

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Albert for your visit.

(Albert Louis is a professional percussionist and teacher and also specialises in Asian percussion instruments. He also plays the drums with local bands.)


Many years ago I had a music teacher who told me "Watch Tony Bennett, he has the best timing in the business" I've never forgotten that. Tony Bennett had or has the best timing in music.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for the Tony Bennett quote. That's something not found anywhere that I've read about him.

Please keep in touch.