I’m looking at and watching a man who once served in World War II as an infantryman and sang in the military band under the alias Joe Bari.
This was until 1949 when he went on a road trip with Bob Hope and took up the latter’s suggestion to change his name to Tony Bennett – the blessed one.
And that’s exactly what he’s been doing – blessing us with great music for more than six decades! With as many as 17 grammies to his name and numerous chart- topping albums, he’s still as good as gold, even at the age of 87!
Daughter Antonia Bennett opened the evening with a couple of her own jazz pieces. As an appetizer, she was okay but certainly not delectable enough to steal her father’s thunder as the main course.
In fact, there was such an amazing chemistry between Tony and his four-piece band. Complemented really well by the swinging grooves provided for by drummer Harold Jones and bassist Marshall Woods, the performance put up by the team was nothing short of stellar. And throughout the entire concert, the band complemented him so well that he remained the centre of attention.
His signature piece I left My Heart in San Francisco was greeted with a predictably rousing cheer. Hearing him sing it in the same smooth voice certainly made it feel as nostalgic and raw as having it play off a vinyl record on an old gramophone.
Another song that I thought was well done was Smile, a piece written by Charlie Chaplin. That certainly left a pleasant, gleeful grin on my face.
For the grand finale, Tony sang Fly Me To The Moon without the microphone! Accompanied by a very faint but distinct guitar refrain, his voice resonated through the Star Performing Arts Centre with such finesse and clarity, much to the delight of a cheering crowd.
With legendary Tony Bennett, there was no need for a fancy change of clothes or any form of razzle dazzle. He is pure talent that is still as good as gold.