Last night my mum and I went to see Tony Bennett at the Sydney Opera House. (Just to clarify – the pic on the left is a Billboard Grammys photo, we didn’t get that close. And he didn’t bring Lady Gaga. But I think that the photo is funny.)
I had bought the tickets for my mum’s birthday earlier this year as we love Tony Bennett and his cronies (something to do with my Grandad, our own Italian-New Yorker, I’m sure).
We last saw Tony Bennett at the Lyric Theatre at Sydney’s Casino (a truly beautiful theatre stuck in a hideously tacky venue – imagine the Kardashian wedding held in Paris’ Sacre Coeur and you’ll kinda get the feeling). So it was nice to see the now 85 year old crooner in the fabulous Concert Hall of the Opera House on a cool Sydney evening. (And if you’re not from ’round here, the tent looking things in my pic on the right aren’t market stalls but Opera Bar – best views in town.) The average age of the crowd was probably about 60 and I helped the nice couple next to us read their ticket numbers (they forgot their glasses) and the chap in front was sporting a fetching 1960s style red gingham jacket (and he wasn’t a hipster being ironic).
Tony’s daughter Antonia opened the show. Now, I don’t like to be cruel and Lord knows I can’t sing, but I do believe that if she was a gal born to a different daddy, Antonia would not be singing on the Opera House stage. Her voice is fine – sometimes sweet, but not very strong and often a little pitchy to my ears. I whispered to my mum, I hope that if Dad becomes a singer, he lets me open his show even though I can’t sing. And like a true stage mother, she replied, Well I hope you’ll wear something a lot more glamorous if that happens.
But Antonia knew we hadn’t come to see her, so she only stayed on stage for about 30 mins before the real star of the show came out. And what a star he is – performing hit after hit for over an hour and a half, without a break or a drink of water. HE IS 85. And his voice is strong – maybe just a little creaky by the end of the night, as anyone’s would be – as he hits the higher notes and brings home the powerful lyrics. HE IS 85. His band (at least from where we were sitting) all look like old timers too, but they were equally impressive.
From classics such as I Left My Heart In San Francisco to The Way You Look Tonight; from his stories about Bob Hope and Charlie Chaplin to bustin’ out some amazing dance moves that would put most men in their 20s to shame; from his genuine delight when people applaud or squeal to the incredible finale – Fly Me To The Moon. Without any microphone. HE IS 85. He said it was to test the acoustics of the Concert Hall, but I reckon it was to test the ol’ lungs and maybe show off a bit that he’s still got such talent. Whatevs, Tony Bennett – at 85 as at 25, you’re a true legend.
(This last pic has no relevance – I just took it last night and didn’t want our Bridge to feel left out of this post.)