Tony Bennett is an American treasure. He was Frank Sinatra’s favorite singer, Lady Gaga has a tattoo honoring him, he has sung for 11 U.S. Presidents, has 20 Grammys including lifetime achievement and is still playing to audiences at age 91!
Mr. Bennett came to Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Saturday night to play a makeup show for the cancelled performance last year during Hurricane Irma. The sold-out show had an eclectic crowd, from baby boomers to octogenarians, kids to rockers and everybody else in between.
His daughter, Antonia Bennett opened the show with a short set of standards. Her voice was beautiful, smooth with a bit of an occasional rasp that had a cool vibe. Antonia has attended Berklee School of Music and travels all over the world with her father.
Tony appeared in suit and tie smiling and waving to the first of many standing ovations of the night! He is all business about music and played back to back classics with little chat. From “Fly Me to the Moon”, “The Good Life”, “The Way You Look Tonight”, and of course his signature, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, he never missed a beat, a line or a note. His strength in holding notes on several songs was absolutely amazing. The audience shouting out between songs, “We love You Tony! A humble Bennett talks about gratitude for his lengthy career.
His four-piece quartet is stellar. He gives each member individual attention as he makes his way around the stage and they take solos. As a unit, they are impeccable and with Tony’s voice are one whether playing jazz, classics or pop songs.
Mr. Bennett has had such an interesting life from his upbringing in New York City to his being a renowned artist and painter. The Rat Pack and most of his contemporaries are gone but Tony Bennett keeps their era alive as well as staying contemporary by continuing to record and tour with some of today’s biggest music artists. We have been lucky to experience a true artist in Tony Bennett who keeps giving! Be sure and check out his official website for everything Tony! www.tonybennett.com
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography