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The year Tony Bennett turns 80, he releases the CD "Duets, An American Classic," and for Public Broadcasting System, he performs nine duets (eight from the album) and a solo in front of an audience in L.A. Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, and Robert De Niro provide brief commentary, and there are a few clips and lots of stills of Bennett through his career. Mostly it's singing: with Barbra Streisand, John Legend, k.d. lang and Chris Botti, Diana Krall, Juanez, Elton John, Michael Bublé, Stevie Wonder, and Christina Aguilera. The Tony Bennett Dancers give cabaret and 60's stagings to several numbers. Written by
During the mid-1990's (I believe 10 or 11 years ago), we attended a charity concert by Tony Bennett at the 5-star "The Lodge of Four Seasons," at Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks. This is an annual event which was established to benefit a medical facility, organized by the resort's principal owner.
The dinner and Mr. Bennett's performance, with his own combo, were in the private conference area, with a limited number of tables, and all having a close view (the proceeds were more than fostered by the cost, which would have been worth twice the price). The show was outstanding, and the next day, he and his friend were in the dining area for Sunday brunch. A number of people got his autograph - we simply walked by and indicated how much we had enjoyed his performance.
What I recall vividly is how genuinely pleasant and gracious he was to everybody. His pianist and drummer had also sat-in with the house combo in the lounge, Saturday night after the performance, and were gracious and pleasant also - an indication of the atmosphere they share with the star performer.
So many prominent entertainers are so different off-stage from on-. However, this is one performer who is as nice with the public after the performance as his persona on-stage - something you don't forget.
This presentation, which was broadcast the other evening, was superb. I had intended to tape to entire hour, but must have hit the control wrong, because I got only the last 1/3 or so. Will pick-up the DVD first chance.
I particularly enjoyed the numbers with Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera and Michael Bublé, and thought every number was thoroughly enjoyable. In addition, the comments from prominent entertainers, such as Bruce Willis, Robert DeNiro and John Travolta, were brief, interesting and relevant. All the numbers were impeccably-produced. And, thankfully, unlike many of these type programs, numbers weren't interrupted or burdened with voice-overs.
At an age when many singers' voices have diminished, Tony's is as strong, perfect and enjoyable as ever. He's like those occasional athletes who seem to perform as well, or better, at an age when most of their contemporaries have either faded or retired.
A 10* presentation and performance in every aspect.
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