Takin’ a ride with Tony Bennett

Singer Tony Bennett performing in concert. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

By Doug Koztoski

Some believe that there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But what about a double rainbow? That natural phenomenon greeted thousands of eager fans for a recent evening during one of the 2018 summer concerts at Wolf Trap in Northern Virginia. At the end of this style of rainbow was a pot of gold, gold record renditions that is, delivered mainly by singing legend Tony Bennett, who with a few friends and others, entertained the audience, which ranged from those who seemingly have known cell phones from the womb, to those who recall phone booths with great affection.

Bennett’s quartet of veteran musicians eased the seemingly sold-out crowd into the evening for a few minutes until the crooner’s daughter Antonia did solid versions of four tunes, the last of which highly is identified with Frank Sinatra, “From This Moment On,” which, in its own way, turned out to be prophetic.

Shortly after Antonia exited the stage the audience heard a recording from Sinatra that announced Tony B’s imminent arrival with the words “This guy’s about to come out here and rip the seats out of this place.”

Strolling out looking stylish, especially with a distinctive blue blazer, the crowd welcomed the singer with a standing ovation. His first tune: “Let Someone Believe in You.” We all did, from the start. How could you not? Bennett has some sixty years of recording experience in his back pocket, a smooth superstar.

For the next 45 minutes or so Bennett worked the stage, as much as a 91-year old can, and seemed to enjoy every beat of each tune, which included “I Got Rhythm,” “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “The Good Life.”

And then the other pot of gold at the end of the rainbow walked onstage to join the legend, Lady Gaga, dressed in a long black evening gown, with matching opera gloves. To more standing ovations the pair sang a couple of duets: “Cheek To Cheek” and “The Lady Is A Tramp.” They looked and sounded great together, and certainly enjoyed each other’s company. Lady Gaga’s appearance, surprised much of the crowd, having her do only two songs almost seemed even more surprising.

Most of the last remaining songs of the evening were met with the audience standing, singing and cheering as they enjoyed “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” “Shadow Of Your Smile,” “One For The Road,” “For Once In My Life,” and “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”

At this stage of the game Bennett is more like a classic eight-cylinder car “hitting on seven” most of the time and the entire eight much of the rest of the time. The ride is still quite comfortable, and you ride in style, one good enough to end the night with a trip outside the confines of earth, so to speak, as he sang, to another standing ovation, “Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars…”

Tony did just that for the thousands of fans in attendance at Wolf Trap that night, and they returned the favor to the beaming Bennett, a highly recommended show, where the seats aren’t really needed, right Frank?

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One thought on “Takin’ a ride with Tony Bennett

  1. Doug – this sounds wonderful and a nice venue too (saw The Monkees there July 22, 2001). The melodic crescendo that he brings to “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” at the end of the song is incredible. Thank you for this review.

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