life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

So I was standing in King Kullen Friday when my cell phone began to ring.  It was Becca.  She wanted to know if Drew and I were interested in seeing Tony Bennett in concert.    Seems she won a pair of tickets.  Seems she was trying to win basketball tickets for her boyfriend the Knicks fan, but somehow wound up with tickets to a concert that was more my taste than hers.

You don't want to know what those "free" tickets cost us.  The concert was held in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, which is in Newark, over an hour's drive away, plus tolls and parking.

Neither of us had ever been to the NJPAC, so just exploring the venue was a new experience.  I kept saying to Drew that it reminded me of a mini Lincoln Center, not in terms of architectural style, but in terms of scope, tone, etc.  Drew told me he was thinking of Carnegie Hall.  The main theater, the Prudential, holds 2800 people.  There are three smaller theaters and two restaurants on site -- make reservations if you want to eat at one of the restaurants, we wound up eating sandwiches from the bar/refreshment stand.

3,000 seats at Westbury Music Fair, theater in the round, a very intimate performance.  2,800 seats in the Prudential, traditional proscenium stage, tiers of seating (we sat in the second tier), a very grand performance.

The opening act was Antonia Bennett, Tony's daughter.A lovely young woman, but unfortunately she doesn't have the stage presence or the voice to command the venue.  While she was singing, the "gentleman" seated behind me kept talking, and at one point he said, loud enough to be heard by most of our section, "Where's your daddy?"

She sang for about 20 minutes, then introduced her father.

Tony Bennett is 86 now, and still able to perform a show.  He sang for a little over an hour.  Sorry to say, he's not as good as he used to be.  Very charismatic, but the voice....he's getting by on magnetism and memories.  Still very entertaining.   Though I was very impressed when, at the end of the show, he turned off his microphone and sang "Fly Me To The Moon", and could be heard in every seat in the house.

Not sorry I went, of course.  It was an entertaining evening overall.

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