Sunday, December 21, 2014

An unlikely pairing

I’d seen a concert advertised on Canal + featuring Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga and was naturally intrigued as to how this was going to work out.

Tony Bennett is an 88 year old crooner. He has won won 17 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented in 2001) and two Emmy Awards, and and has sold over 50 million records worldwide. His style is smooth, sophisticated and very much mainstream jazz.

On the other hand, Lady Gaga is 60 years his junior and is best known for her wild, often lewd, theatrical style. She aims to shock and achieves that. For example, at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, she wore a dress made from raw beef. Her boots, purse and hat were also made from raw beef. 

How on earth could these two collaborate on stage?

The short concert, entitled Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!,  was was played to a select audience. The two singers were backed by a 39 piece orchestra which included the amazing Chris Botti on trumpet and David Mann on tenor sax. The setlist of 13 songs included “Anything Goes”, “Nature Boy”, “I Won’t Dance”, “Lush Life” and “But Beautiful”.

And it turned out very well indeed. Lady Gaga has a great voice which matched perfectly that of Tony Bennett. She did tone down the theatricals but still managed to flirt with Bennett in a way that made for good interaction between the two. They sang beautifully together and received several standing ovations from the discerning audience.

The concert is available on DVD for those who might be interested and there are several different CD versions of the Cheek to Cheek project. 

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