Tony Bennett is not 90 years old.
Oh, sure, he was born nine decades ago as of Aug. 3.
In his ongoing 2016 tour, he sings from memory roughly two dozen songs — depending on how you count medleys — with hardly a pause. While performing, he looks and sounds like an artist just beginning the autumn of his years.
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As for his energy level, rhythmic vigor, breath control, pitch accuracy, and soft-shoe dance steps: timeless.
A Tony Bennett concert is a trip through the Great American Songbook, standards written by George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin and others. Some of the songs may be associated with other singers, but Bennett has managed to make them his own.
“One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” is identified with Frank Sinatra, but he takes it out of the saloon and gives it a funky blues vibe, buoyed by Mike Renzi’s piano. Bennet’s performance of “For Once in My Life,” the 1968 Stevie Wonder hit, is slowed to a ballad of quiet determination.
As a crooner, Bennett has a natural, conversational style that sometimes makes it difficult to tell when the between-song patter stops and the singing begins. But that effortlessness is part of his appeal. When he delivers “The Way You Look Tonight,” it is like an intimate conversation between two lovers. If Bennett weren’t so gentlemanly, you might call his version foreplay.
The singer blends class, charisma, and eager-to-please friendliness in his performances. At a recent performance, he revealed that he and Lady Gaga are making another album together because their 2014 collaboration was such a success. That album landed him his 18th Grammy and an even bigger audience.
Some 67 years into his career, Bennett has various constituencies. Some fans remember him from the 1950s and his first Grammy winner, 1963’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” He enjoyed a rebirth in the mid-1990s with his “MTV Unplugged” project featuring Elvis Costello and k.d. lang. And now a third generation has discovered Bennett’s greatness after duets with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood and Lady Gaga.
All three generations are represented at his 2016 concerts and they agree on this triumphant moments. Like a trumpet, Bennett belts out the last line of many songs in concert, earning cheers, whistles and standing ovations after “When You’re Smiling,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “San Francisco” and “How Do You Keep the Music Playing,” which concluded like a piece from “Phantom of the Opera.”
A combination of grace, humility, and old-school cool, Bennett seems sunnier than the middle of July. His countenance is so radiant, his smile so contagious that when he sings Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” and “When You’re Smiling,” you won’t be able to help but smile.
With that smile, that voice and that repertoire, Bennett has many fans. Don’t miss your chance to see the legend himself perform at a venue near you. Many of his concerts are already sold out, but MyFavePlaces has your back with tickets and a 200% money back guarantee.