Live Review: Tony Bennett Stirs Awe in Atlantic City

Published on December 1st, 2013

_MG_6558Tony Bennett performing at the Borgata Event Center in Atlantic City on November 30, 2013

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – During his Saturday evening performance at the Borgata in Atlantic City, Tony Bennett repeatedly took his audience by surprise with bursts of passion and vocal strength.

These moments would arrive just when a song’s melody and lyrics began to taper.

This was not some strategy devised to impress the Atlantic City crowd, rather the result of more than 60 years in show business and the mastery of live performance which surely comes with it.

After arriving on stage in suit and tie with a red pocket square, Bennett wasted no time launching into a cherry-picked assortment of American songbook classics.

The stage was sparse. A small band was gathered around Bennett, temporarily turning the large event center into an intimate lounge.

His daughter, Antonia, sang a duet with her father after providing the opening entertainment.

His voice, on song after song, has a beautiful quality which has only grown with age.

After a particularly rousing audience reaction, Bennett would toss his hands in the air and wear his famous smile. The gesture has become his signature.

Like the albums, the music arrangements in his live show are tailored to provide just enough support for his voice while never getting in its way. This style at times left a somber quiet in the venue, providing opportunities to fully appreciate his magic.

Bennett is perhaps the most significant living figure in music. He achieved legendary status decades ago. Yet he carries on at age 87 with the urgency and vitality of a young star.

On stage his voice is spry and his wit is quick.

“I hope you’ll go out and buy my new album. Because I need the money.”

When not on tour, he’s readying a new duet album with Lady Gaga.

“If you are creative, you get busier as you get older,” he told a critic.

That was fifteen years ago. The smart Atlantic City gambler would place a bet on plenty more performances from Bennett for another fifteen years.

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