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Bumbershoot Review Day 2: Tony Bennett Has Still Got it

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We were all a bit surprised to see his name among the headliners of Bumbershoot, but now that we’ve seen him perform to an elated Key Arena, it’s clear that at 86 Tony Bennett is is still in full command of the ship. For many this will possibly be the last chance to see this world-famous crooner do his thing. It’s great to see that he still does it so amazingly.

I arrived a few minutes into his set, just in time to see him perform ‘The Way You Look Tonight.’ He did the first verse pretty much a capella, then he did a little salute, and then the band came in. All those years in Vegas have given this living legend the know-how to perform in any size room. When he got big at the end of the song, hearing his still-strong, still smooth as butter voice fill the room with the climax of a song we all know by heart was like seeing the world’s grandpa sing a lullaby to a room of adoring descendants. Afterwards the audience gave him a standing ovation, and they brought up the house lights so Bennett could gently shake his head and put his hand on his heart.

The gifted people sharing the stage with Bennett today are each no doubt celebrated artists in their own right. Each instrument was played with precision, finesse, and heart. At one point Bennett said to the audience, “I’ve been singing for fifty years ladies and gentlemen… I’ll be honest, it’s the last sixty years.” If you’re wondering, that’s how long it takes to become the coolest living singer in the world.

As much as everybody would like to be there when a band breaks, to see them graduate from garage to stage, or from local to national, seeing expertise and decades of passion culminate in an hour in front of an adoring Bumbershoot audience is the other, wonderful side of that coin.