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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'Concert for the Americas' a monument to an icon

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Concert for the Americas" is stereotypical Frank Sinatra, showcasing the singers onstage presence and rapport with fans.
As Frank Sinatra introduces "My Kind of Town," during the newly released DVD "Frank Sinatra: Concert for the Americas," he gives us a reminder of what made him a truly great and one-of-a-kind performer.

After throwing the audience a kiss, he asks them to return the favor. When a male audience member yells, "We love you, Frank!" the singer immediately replies, "I love you too, pal!"

That was Sinatra. He wasn't the best singer of his generation. He wasn't the best looking. He wasn't the best actor.

But he was the best entertainer. Sinatra had a number of nicknames -- The Voice, Ol' Blue Eyes, Frankie -- but the one that truly fit was "Chairman of the Board."

This 1982 concert reminds us of exactly what Sinatra was: the most interesting person in the room, no matter who else was there. When he entered in the room, all eyes were on him. He held everyone else in his hands like putty.

In a career that spanned 60 years, it's easy to think Sinatra's significance came between the 1940s and 1960s, but "Concert for the Americas" proves that, even at 66 years old, Sinatra still had it. This wasn't an old man still trotting out the hits of the past.

While he did mix in standards like "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Strangers in the Night" and "All or Nothing at All," Sinatra also proudly presents a then-new composition with "The House I Live In" and even covers the Beatles in George Harrison's "Something."

What we see is a truly vibrant performer, a man who remained so for several more years.

The concert, which was filmed as a Showtime special at the Altos de Chav--n Amphitheatre in the Dominican Republic, also features some special treats from other performers.

On this particular tour, Sinatra was touring with the Buddy Rich Orchestra. Nearly halfway through the show, the orchestra performs an interlude titled "Jet Song." The payoff of this performance is seeing Rich, a great jazz drummer and band leader, proving that he was still at the top of his game just two years before his death.

A man who was 67 at the time really shouldn't have been able to move like that behind the trap set.

Late in the show, we get a glimpse of a slightly more intimate side of Sinatra when he performs "Send in the Clowns" and "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" accompanied by the acoustic guitar of Tony Mottola.

It shows us of how Sinatra could entertain a crowd of tens of thousands while making each one feel as if they were in a tiny, smoky club.

And, of course, the concert ends with the Theme from "New York, New York," as any Sinatra show should. When the crowd begins cheering as they realize what the song is, Frank tries to stop them. He then realizes he can't stop them and continues with his grand finale.

My spin: A

For someone of my generation, who never had the chance to see Sinatra live, "Concert for the Americas" is an amazing experience. This man was one of the great entertainers of the last century, and it's wonderful concerts like this remain as a monument to his talent.

"Concert for the Americas" will be available Dec. 14 from Shout! Factory, two days after Sinatra's 95th birthday. However, it is already available at www.shoutfactory.com as part of the 7-DVD set "Frank Sinatra: Concert Collection."

The collection gives a taste of the Sinatra live experience with more than 14 hours of footage from the '50s to the '80s as well as some rare photos and liner notes.

The individual DVD is also quite a treat, though. It's a great watch for anyone who needs a reminder of the entertainer Sinatra was and anyone who wants to learn for the first time.