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Tony Bennett

A night of high emotion at the Royal Albert Hall - 13 April 2005
Third row awash with tears of Arthur

Tony Benett tickets

The Times Review - 16 April 2005

The Times review 16 April 2005

The Trixibelle Review - 17 April 2005

It’s amazing how clear an impression of the reviewer is obtained from her truncated report of the concert. She’s clearly young (all those negative references to Tony’s age – how dare he still be singing after sixty years?!); inexperienced (no appreciation that some things, familiar jokes, familiar songs, are actually more enjoyable second or third time around); but worst of all, musically naive. She reveals a wealth of musical ignorance when she states that Tony sought refuge for his voice amongst the “easy” jazzy syncopated treatment of the old songs. Has she no idea of the control of breath, vocal chords and stomach required to resist simply belting out the tune at top whack? Aah Lisa, Lisa, when will you learn that sometimes less is definitely more?

Tony paid respect, much deserved, to the musicians with him on stage, and to the writers of the songs that he has interpreted so well over the last six decades. Supported by Count Basie’s original drummer, he forged a tuneful bridge between 21st century London and the storyful lyrics of such masters as Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Gershwin and Hank Williams to name but a few.
 The Good Life, I Wanna Be Around, Night and Day, Rags to Riches, They Can’t Take That Away From Me - songs that tell a story, not just of love, but of all the conditions on the continuum between love and indifference. Tony sang these songs with smooth gravitas, with a perfect pitch that never faltered, whether high or low. If not Tony, who else would give these songs the audience they deserve? We waited for the years to show through and they never did – other than to give a depth and resonance borne of experience and familiarity. These are not bad words children. Tony gave us his own thoughts on the matter with All For You - his own words to music by Django Reinhardt – a wistful and powerful rendition.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of her review is what is omitted. Towards the end of the set, Tony called for the microphones to be turned off and sang Fly Me To The Moon. His voice flew above us all, filling the auditorium. In our third row at least, emotions swelled and tears fell – the power, range, sweetness and sheer experience that exuded from his voice touched us all. And yet, Lisa Verrico failed utterly to mention what was for me, the most powerful moment of the concert. Was she still there? Perhaps, in youthful impatience for a quick musical fix, she’d rushed home to turn up the volume on her latest boy band download, and reorganize their posters on her bedroom wall. Does The Times know this musical journalist is working part-time? If she’d only stuck around as long as Tony Bennett has, she too might have produced something of real quality.