Tony Bennett serenades New Jersey audience
A simple band of a piano, stand-up bass, electric guitar and small jazz drum kit waited on the grand stage in the even grander New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s theater. As musicians gathered on stage, the anticipation rose like hot air for the legendary Tony Bennett. Once Mr Bennett stepped on the stage, the sold-out audience exploded with pure thrill.
The ever-dapper Mr Bennett could hardly introduce himself as the crowd’s overwhelming cheers drowned any hope of getting a word in. But once he started to sing, the room fell silent, breathless and the theater was teleported to a 1950s supper club.
Mr Bennett opened the show with the charming Watch What Happens. He followed with a few more of the Great American Songbook, including the jazzy Steppin’ Out With My Baby and heartbreaking classic Boulevard of Broken Dreams. His daughter Antonia Bennett, who had opened the show, joined him on stage later for a duet.
Though his trademark singing was on point, little anecdotes between songs, including ones of a letter from Charlie Chaplin and of Bob Hope giving him the name Tony Bennett, since Anthony Dominick Benedetto “wouldn’t fit the marquee”, gave the show color.
The New York crooner was backed by an incredible band, which includes “Count Basie’s favorite drummer”, Harold Jones. Aside from a few amusing dance steps during instrumental solos, Mr Bennett really allowed for the band to steal the spotlight where deserved.
Yet the highlight of the evening didn’t come until the very last song, Fly Me to the Moon, which he performed sans microphone and his a capella voice soared through the theater, leaving the audience, once again, in awe.
Photos: Martin Evans
For further information and future events visit Tony Bennett’s website here.
Watch Tony Bennett perform For Once in My Life with Marc Anthony here: