Music Review: Tony Bennett – The Radio City Music Hall Concert

Tony Bennett In Concert
Radio City Music Hall
April 13, 2019

When Ticketmaster sends you an alert that THE Tony Bennett is performing in your town, you run right out to catch that performance, no questions asked. Mr. Bennett was coming home to New York and we were going to be there for it! Our reward was that we got to spend an evening with an American icon and were treated to the most charming of evenings.

Spoilers, this evening was a pure delight from start to finish. If nothing else, Mr. Bennett is so genuine in his passion for his music and his desire to make sure the audience is enjoying themselves. And enjoy ourselves, we did.   

Antonia Bennett, Tony’s daughter, was the opening act at the famed Radio City Music Hall. Backed by a quartet, she sang a brief set of American Standards, including “That Old Black Magic,” “Someone To Watch Over Me,” “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” and “This Happy Day.” She has a rich jazzy, big band sound to her music. “Someone to Watch Over Me” is one of my absolute favorite songs and her version was a great take on the classic. Ms. Bennett told the audience it was an honor to tour with her father and that she’s constantly learning from him. It was a sweet gesture to her Dad. When you think about Antonia Bennett’s influences, it’s hard not to be a little in awe. Tony Bennett ran with some of the greatest of the 20th Century; titans of the musical world including Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, and Dean Martin. As a child, Antonia performed with Rosemary Clooney and Count Basie, among others, so you know she has some chops.

Antonia Bennett (Photo: via Facebook)

The inimitable Tony Bennett took the stage at about 8:25 PM. We were treated to almost two dozen songs in the roughly 1 hour performance. I must state that the man is 92 years old. The level of energy he brings to his performance belies his nonagenerian status. His vocals were strong and clean.  He’s still able to quick adjustments to notes he wasn’t initially happy with, the sort of skill that you master over a 70 year career. His stage persona is what you think, all charm and charisma, blowing kisses and saluting the audience as we applauded at the end of songs. The only time his age betrayed him was when a verse eluded him during a solo with his guitar player. He owned up to it and quickly moved on, picking up at the chorus, which goes to show two things: we’re all human and he’s a consummate professional.

The evening’s set list included songs you know by heart. Some of the songs he performed were “The Way You Look Tonight,” “I Got Rhythm,” “For Once in My Life,” “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road),” “Love Is Here to Stay,” and “But Beautiful.”  And of course, the Bennett classic, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” which earned him another standing ovation. Tony closed with “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Every song was wrapped in his unmatched blend of classic style and boundless charm. I cannot imagine a more lovely way to spend an evening. 

Photo: Sheila McGann

At the end of the encore, Mr. Bennett was called back to the stage several times to embrace the audience’s enthusiastic and prolonged standing ovation. He looked the entire time that he was truly enjoying himself, almost as much as the audience members were enjoying themselves.

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