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 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.
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.