Review: Tony Bennett, Glasgow, 2014

Tony Bennett, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, September 9th, 2014 *****

“We’ll have what he’s having” was undoubtedly what was going through the minds of the adoring punters who packed out the Concert Hall on Tuesday night to witness living legend Tony Bennett strut his singing stuff at the age of 88.

Anyone who didn’t hear him on the same stage two years ago might have expected that this concert would be one of those senior citizen specials in which much of the applause after each song is actually a reward for making it through to the end without keeling over. With Tony Bennett, the standing ovations that routinely followed his often energetic – the Tony twirl is undoubtedly his signature move – performances were purely down to the extraordinary affection that the audience has for him and the fact that he is still singing wonderfully.

Of course, great care has been taken in the way the programme (almost identical to 2012’s) has been constructed, and Bennett is adept at pacing himself. On songs, such as Maybe Next Time, which are going to have a big, belted-out finale (and boy, can Bennett still belt them out), he holds back for most of the number before socking it to his stunned listeners.

Dazzling as those grand finales were; on Tuesday it was the quieter, more intimate songs which were the most memorable; in particular Once Upon a Time, a ballad which is perfect and poignant for a singer of his age to be performing, and one which highlighted the fact that he is a poet with song: his reverence for the lyrics – the words and their meaning – enable him to paint a picture and tell a story in a way that many singers fail miserably to do.

* First published in The Herald, Thursday September 11th, 2014

Watch What Happens

They All Laughed

Maybe This Time

I Got Rhythm

Cold, Cold Heart

Sing You Sinners

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

For Once In My Life

The Best Is Yet To Come

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

I’m Old-Fashioned

Who Cares?

Smile

When You’re Smiling

Fly Me To the Moon

 

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