Ok I just saw Tony Bennett for the first time ever. This 90 year old singer had me smiling for the entire set he played up at Casino Rama. He walks on stage after his band had warmed the audience with a couple of song. He was chillin’ like a villain, with a strong sense of confidence as well as having fun knowing everyone wanted to be there. When we got to the third song Tony jokingly mentioned that he was approaching the prime of his life.
He fell into, “I got Rhythm”, where his guitar player pulled off the first great solo of the night, and the audience showed they had rhythm too, by clapping along. Tony also played tribute to other great artists like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder, doing some great covers only Tony knows how to do.
The evening hit a dark moment when Tony began to sing a gospel song about sinners. The entire congregation got the joke and began clapping along. Tony slipped into various love and romantic songs that brought back everyone to their youth and joy. He even sang,” I love the way you look tonight”, which felt like a love letter directly to us dedicated fans.
He went on to praise Toronto as being one of the places that gave him his start. He went far back to the 50’s and did a medley of songs like, “Because of you”, “Cold Cold”,” From rags to riches” and, “Who can I turn to”. He went back to the beginning an showered us with, “Blvd of broken dreams”. He sang about “The Good Life”, which inspired us to be open, and hid us deeply inside with, The shadow of your smile”.
He toasted us with “One for my baby (and one more for the road). He kept us in the past with, “I’m old Fashioned”, and has us travel to San Francisco. He left us with a powerful message; you will find life worthwhile if you just smile. Just when you thought that was a perfect ending Tony flew us to the moon.
Tony was truly in his element, because he would usually finish with great crescendo notes and then throwing his hands up in victory, or giving us the thumbs up. He was graceful and humble and his smile filled the room with a beautiful light. Thank You Tony for giving us lessons on the finer things in life.
View images from the performances below: (Photos by Maureen Vitelli)