Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tony Bennett ~ 9/7/15

This concert started a little later than usual with doors opening at 6:30, concert to begin at 7:30. We arrived at 5:45 to do a little tailgating in the parking lot and we found the end of the line further back then we've ever been. One of the volunteers informed us that people were lining up as early as 4:30 - yikes!
At least we got to look at lovely fall flowers!
Getting close in our slow moving line, we finally got in and took what are now our usual seats way right. Shortly thereafter Terri Lynn Land arrived and instead of finding open space, she insisted that the row in front of us move back so she and her party could sit there. Instead of telling her to sit in back of them where there was room, they begrudgingly moved back. Can you say pushy, or maybe entitled?
It's great being at this venue with friends, and running into more friends!
Finally around 7:40, the band appeared on the stage followed by Antonia Bennett. Any relation? A quick lookup informed us that she was indeed Tony's daughter and had been touring with him since the mid 2000s. She had a great voice but again, just like at the Doobie Brothers concert, we weren't there to hear anyone's child perform. It's not what we paid for.
But 15 minutes later, we watched day turn into night as she walked off and Tony walked on.
Starting at 7:55, he plowed through a 20+ song set without an intermission. He's a bit raspy, but then he's always been, and he was a little pitchy here and there while trying out hold out those last notes. But he still has his showbiz style and smile, and he captivated this audience. At the conclusion of each song, he would throw up his arms and smile that smile. He knows he is loved and we were there to enjoy listening to a musical legend.
Tony's band is a group of stellar musicians in their own right ~ Mike Renzi on piano, Gray Sargent on guitar, Marshal Wood on bass, and Harold Jones on drums. When Tony took a few minutes to acknowledge and introduce them, he finished with Harold and announced "Harold Jones, on guitar." Oops. But we all knew who he meant as he was gesturing towards him. Tony is 89 years old, btw.
Here's Terri Lynn Land again, in action. The row behind her is really mad now but she doesn't care :-)
About midway through the performance, Antonia came back to the stage to sing with her father, "Old Friends." Along with a little dance, the number was nice duet.
Since Tony had arrived on stage, we could hear what sounded like a truck motor running next to us through the evergreens. By 8:20 we had had enough and one of our party walked around and found EMS trucks running there. After mentioning to them that we had paid too much money for this concert to listen to Tony accompanied by their engine, they moved. EMS keeping their engines revved ~ were they there for Tony or the older crowd?
Tony did his standards including "I left my Heart..." but it was more of a throw away for him. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Fly Me to the Moon," "I Got Rhythm," and "Smile" had much more of his heart and soul.

Smile, composed by Charlie Chaplin 


By 9:10 he was finished. The audience was expecting more but we saw him carted off down the path behind the evergreens. It was all over. But wait! There were fireworks! We may have preferred a Tony encore but Tony preferred to leave us with fireworks.
We didn't stay for them all and could still see them flying high as we drove home fifteen minutes later. Kudos to you, Tony Bennett, mostly for still being here singing those great songs. We're not sure if we believed you when you said this was the best venue you and the boys have played in but you certainly left your mark, and maybe part of your heart, here in Grand Rapids.   Video Clips from Concert