Review: Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, June 25, 2012 ****

He may have managed to do a post-prandial walkabout through the city centre yesterday afternoon without being accosted by anyone other than your reviewer, but Tony Bennett was welcomed to the Concert Hall like a long lost brother when he came onstage last night. Anticipation had been building for the opening 20 minutes of the concert, which had been taken up by his daughter Antonia, a singer with a more stagey style than her jazz-influenced father who still has a thing or two to teach her about phrasing and conveying the meaning of lyrics.

He may be in his third decade of pension-drawing but Bennett positively romped through his repertoire, dishing up one greatest hit after another in a continuous programme that comprised a staggering 26 songs. As seems often to be the case with these “senior” stars, the longer he was onstage, the more alive, animated and energetic he became. It was as if the warmth which poured forth from the audience fuelled the performance.

Accompanied by a quartet which featured guitarist Gray Sargent – whose duets with Bennett at the start of such sublime ballads as But Beautiful (the Billie Holiday version of which had been playing in Rogano while Bennett lunched) were highlights – the 85-year-old singer displayed an astonishing power and command.

Indeed, for his final encore, to convey how moved he was by the massive wave of affection from the full house, Bennett put down the microphone and, accompanied by Sargent, sang Fly Me to the Moon as he swivelled gently round, taking in every section of the audience and imploring them with his hands as he sang “Fill my heart with song and let me sing forevermore”. In other words, he brought the house down.

* First published in The Herald, Tuesday June 26, 2012

Watch What Happens

They All Laughed

Maybe This Time

I Got Rhythm

Cold, Cold Heart

Sing You Sinners

Old Friend

Steppin’ Out With My Baby

But Beautiful

The Way You Look Tonight

Just in Time

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

The Good Life

Once Upon a Time

Shadow of Your Smile

One For My Baby

I Wanna Be Around

For Once In My Life

The Best Is Yet To Come

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

My Hometown

I’m Old-Fashioned

Who Cares?

Smile

When You’re Smiling

Fly Me To the Moon

 

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