On Thursday evening attendees were whisked into the past at the State Theatre. The night began promptly at 7:30 p.m. with no delays, and a four piece ensemble consisting of a Steinway & Sons piano, drums, upright bass, and an electric hollow-bodied guitar. Tony Bennett’s daughter, Antonia Bennett opened for the one and only after a short musical introduction. Beginning the night with a cover of Frank Sinatra’s, That Old Black Magic, she wooed the crowd with her smooth vocals and gorgeous dress. Antonia took the stage for about 20 minutes playing various songs from her two albums, Embrace Me and Ordinary Girl.
Around 8:00 p.m. Tony Bennett (91) was welcomed to the stage with Frank Sinatra playing over the speakers – talking about Bennett himself. Attendees could tell that this was more than likely a moment that Bennett kept close to his heart as his smile could be seen from rows away. After waving to a welcoming crowd Bennett began the night with song, Watch What Happens, slowly moving into other hits like This Is All I Ask, I Got Rhythm, and I’m Old Fashioned. This performance was definitely something unique as you couldn’t say you left without hearing at least one song on your list – Bennett did wonderful with selecting a large assortment of songs from throughout his legacy. This concert brought individuals of all ages as it was a trip down memory lane for the majority of the crowd. About half way through his set Bennett entertained the crowd with The Way You Look Tonight, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and I Left My Heart In San Francisco. I know I was looking forward to hearing each of these songs so hearing them made my night complete as well as one to remember. With the night coming to an end Bennett sang Fly Me To The Moon – a good majority of it without a microphone. This brought a sense of closeness throughout the theatre as everyone was listening intently making sure to not miss a word. Bennett’s voice was as powerful, and talented as ever carrying through the theatre with minimal effort. I enjoyed this part of his performance quite a bit because he allowed his audience to see his raw talent – nothing hidden. In closing, Bennett played one of his other well-known numbers, Rags to Riches. As this was the closing of the evening, Bennett longingly said farewell to his audience even showing off some dance moves – showing he’s still got the music in him.
Overall I really enjoyed this concert as it was a concert I wouldn’t think of going to off the top of my head. I’ve always enjoyed jazz music, but I never really think to listen to it when given an opportunity. I liked seeing the crowd that gathered on Thursday night as it was a primarily older group of individuals, but it’s fun to see everyone dressed up and looking tip-top. Thursday evening was meant to be enjoyed as we used it as an excuse to get a little fancy, and sip on cocktails while enjoying talent-filled jazz music. I think the venue was very fitting for this event as it helped set the mood with the old architecture, and provided everyone with a decent view of the performers. The concert ended around 9:00 p.m. which was surprising considering the other shows I’ve attended, but I think the length of the concert was perfect as the set list was a phenomenal selection. The length of the show also allowed attendees to carry on their night if intended. The Bennett’s put on a wonderful performance, and displayed musical talent to the nines. Until we meet again.
Hats off to you, Tony Bennett. And thank you for this incredible opportunity.