­     The 10th annual Ronald McDonald holiday fundraiser (which raised 70,000) brought in one of most legendary singers of all time in Tony Bennett.  The show sold out and it’s his first area appearance since playing Niagara Falls in October of 2012.  Bennett is no stranger to attaching his name to this fundraiser as he played it back in 2008.

­     The true American songbook, Bennett holds himself quite well these days.  He’s coming off a duet album with one of the most famous pop singers on the planet in Lady Gaga.  His new book titled “Just Getting Started” came out last month and on December 20th, there will be a TV special on NBC to celebrate Bennett’s 90th birthday.  If you think he is slowing down, think again.  Looks like he’s just getting started as the title for his current book suggests.  Bennett and his band brought the goods for the Buffalo crowd this past Saturday night.

­     As it was back in 2012, Bennett’s daughter Antonia warmed up the audience by doing 5 numbers before the man of the hour took the stage.  Appearing with that signature smile and holding his hands out, Bennett already had the crowd before he even sang his first note.   As he warmed up on songs like “Watch What Happens” and “I Got Rhythm,” Bennett started to give his voice a workout on “Our Love is Here to Stay” as he held the final note at the end of the song.  In fact, Bennett still showed his voice is still relevant at 90 as he demonstrated this on “How Do You Keep the Music Playing.”  His strong range and pitch garnered him a well deserved standing ovation.

­     For the most part Bennett stuck to the music but did talk about his love for Buffalo.  It was the first place he played in support of his first record “Because of You” back in 1952.  He stated “this wonderful city has been good to us!”  He also talked about his time with Lady Gaga by asking the crowd to buy her records as she needs the help (laughing while saying it.)  This drew a nice chuckle from the audience.

­     Bennett’s continued masterful performance included his most famous song “I Left my Heart in San Francisco” and the notable “Fly Me To the Moon.”

­     The 1 hour and 15 minute show is more than anyone could have asked for.  Besides a hiccup in one song (where he jokingly admitted to forgetting the words), Bennett sounded amazing and looked every bit of the suave legendary singer he is.  Looks like Christmas came early for the attendees in the audience as Bennett was delivering gifts all night to the Amherst crowd.

Setlist:

Watch What Happens

They All Laughed (George Gershwin cover)

This is All I Ask (Gordon Jenkins cover)

I Got Rythym (George Gershwin cover)

In My Solitude (Duke Ellington & Ella Fitzgerald cover)

Sing You Sinners

It Amazes Me

Stepping Out With my Baby (Irving Berlin cover)

But Beautiful (Jimmy Van Heusen cover)

Our Love is Here to Stay

The Way You Looked Tonight (Jerome Kern cover)

Because of You/Cold Cold Heart/Rags to Riches/Who Can I Turn to

Just in Time (Julie Styne cover)

Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Hal Kemp and his orchestra cover)

The Good Life

How Do You Keep the Music Playing? (Michael LeGrand cover)

The Shadow of Your Smile (Johnny Mandel cover)

One for my Baby (On More for the Road) Frank Sinatra cover)

Once in my Life (Jean Dushon cover)

Old Fashioned

I Left my Heart in San Francisco

Fly Me to the Moon

My Baby Cares for Me

Photo Gallery

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We would like to thank  Dave Wedekindt for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Gus

My first opportunity to write about music was with Kissunderground, featuring just one band (KISS). In 2006, I started working for another outlet that showcased more musicians. It was a great experience for me at the time. I personally nailed down some great interviews during my time at glam-metal.com (Paul Stanley, Jonathan Davis, Slash and Sully Erna to name a few). In early 2009, I decided to venture out on my own with the idea of creating a website that has all the offerings that a reader would want in a music review website. That’s when Backstageaxxess.com began.
I’m so proud of what was created here and of our staff that brings it to you. Each one offers a diverse opinion and a creative ability to share it in a unique way. We are so lucky to have them here.
When discussing making a list of favorite shows with the staff, I also found it hard to narrow that list down to a select handful of shows. Everyone experiences a concert in their own terms, whether it’s the show itself, maybe it’s the people you met there and the new friendships created, or maybe it was meeting the artist at the show. For my criteria, I tried to stick to just the show itself, but again, it was sometimes hard to do.
My first concert was Sammy Hagar’s first tour with Van Halen at the Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY, on August 30, 1986. My favorites are as follows:
1. Kiss – Tiger Stadium – Detroit, Michigan 6/28/96
2. SARS (Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, and handful of other bands) – Downsview Park – Toronto, Ontario 7/30/03
3. Paul McCartney (every McCartney show I saw was awesome, but Iwent with my first show) Air Canada Centre -Toronto, Ontario 10/10/05
4. Motley Crue – Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY 12/19/89
5. Kid Rock – Tweeter Center – Camden, New Jersey 3/25/06
The honorable mentions would be any McCartney show (The Joint at the Hard Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2009 or Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario 8/10/10), Prince (Club 2112) at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas 12/30/07, Heart (Pulse Lounge * only 200 people) Hilton Hotel, Anaheim, California, January 21,2008, Monsters of Rock (Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come) Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY 6/19/88 and the Rocklahoma Festival (Queensryche, Lita Ford, Triumph, etc.). Also, Cher (with my mom) at the Blue Cross Arena Rochester, NY, November 22, 2004.