Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Two legends in five days

("The Ultimate Tony Bennett" and "The Very Best of Aretha Franklin: The 60's" CD covers copied from Amazon.com)

Yesterday, I came back from a weekend trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Yes, Amish country was great, but I wasn't there to see the "Plain People"; I was there to see Tony Bennett. THE Tony Bennett. Without a doubt, the Italian crooner extraordinaire was in fine form as he performed at the American Music Theatre this past Sunday at the age of 84. He literally didn't miss a beat and his voice was as strong as ever. On my way to Lancaster, I played my double-CD recording of Tony's 1962 Carnegie Hall performance and, wouldn't you know, when I saw him on the 26th, the guy sounded almost EXACTLY as he did nearly 50 years ago! It was simply amazing! And he is simply the sexiest octogenarian I know.

What was totally unexpected was a performance by his youngest daughter Antonia who, in her own right, is a great singer. Her vocals have a distinctly sweet sound and a nostalgic flair that hint back to the crooning heyday of her father. After belting out a few numbers, she introduced her legendary dad and later performed a duet with him. It was indeed a magical evening.

My second encounter with a living legend came last week when I took my mother on her belated Mother's Day trip to Virginia's Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts to see Aretha Franklin. As was the case with the Tony Bennett concert, I was able to snag orchestra seating. What was the bonus? The orchestra seats at Wolf Trap's Filene Center are situated under the venue's pine ceiling, which means that my mother and I didn't get soaked like those on the lawn when rain started pouring down in sheets.
(Cue Nelson's laugh from "The Simpsons.")

On Tuesday the 21st, the Queen of Soul's powerhouse vocal skills did not disappoint. Neither did her piano-playing abilities, elaborate gowns or her occasional jokes. One thing that was a bit of a letdown, however, was the fact that she didn't sing any of her trademark tunes like "Respect," "Chain of Fools," "Natural Woman," and "Think." Even though she did perform "Freeway of Love," it was sung in a totally different key, so, again, I was a tad bummed. But still, the sheer fact that I got to see THE Aretha Franklin was enough to allow me to go home with a smug smile on my face.


  1. how amazing i would love to see Tony Bennett perform he is a living legend. I'm officially jealous

    Everyday Life

  2. I've never been a fan of Tony Bennett, but I'm sure I would love him in person. And Aretha Franklin?? Wow!