Friday, April 24, 2015

Gaga, Bennett duo dazzles, puts us back on twice-weekly track

Editor's Note:  Sometimes the magic works, as Chief Lodge Skins said in "Little Big Man." We tried to separate entertainment from travel, by moving our arts pieces -- concerts and plays -- from "Where is Cookie" to our "Lilian's Last Dance" blog. Readers didn't like that, and you told us so! Today, the arts coverage returns to "Where is Cookie" with our Wednesdays and weekends posts to which you've become accustomed.  "Lilian's Last Dance" will feature the novel by that name -- tours, workshops, readings, schedules, reviews, interviews. That's what you suggested and we like your ideas! Read on -- and keep in touch. And here's our post on Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, back where you want it, at www.whereiscookie.com

Touched by greatness: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga deliver wondrous performance

TOP LIFETIME SHOWS LINGER IN ARTS REVIEWER'S HEART, AS SHE SHAMELESSLY GOES GAGA 
LEGENDARY SINGER TONY BENNETT AND THE GIFTED LADY GAGA COLLABORATE TO THE DELIGHT OF A FULL HOUSE RECENTLY IN LAS VEGAS. OUR ARTFUL TEAM SAW THE SHOW, FOLLOWING THE "MODERN VINTAGE" COLLABORATION.  


"I call her "firefly" 'cause oh, my. She radiates moon glow. Wants none of that noon glow. She starts to glitter when the sun goes down 'Bout 8 p.m., it's mayhem........."
--from "Firefly," sung recently by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga to a standing ovation Las Vegas audience

If Cookie cries for joy, the concert
or play makes her "tops" list.

STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

IT WAS MOON GLOW, not mayhem when Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett charmed us at Planet Hollywod. Everything was in order.
SO MANY fantastic plays and concerts I've seen in my lucky life.
I started a "Top Ten" list about 30 years ago.  It changes as I see and evaluate several hundred shows each year.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's fabulous, flawless performance made the list.  When a show makes me cry for joy, it's in.
Tony Bennett, a frisky 88, still has the pipes, folks, and a sense of fun.
Here he twirls Lady Gaga around in a packed house at Axis Theater, Vegas.
Lady Gaga goes solo for several songs
with the best band a singer could have.
EACH SHOW on my list reminds me of how precious it is to be in the company of greatness. True genius touches one's life only on rare occasions. The greats remain in my heart and mind --so Tony and Gaga join stellar memories of:
* FRANK SINATRA crooning at the old Sands Hotel, with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., accompanied by Count Basie in the Copa Room.
* Mary Martin washing that man right out of her hair in "South Pacific" on Broadway. The audience wouldn't stop cheering.
* Patti Lupone as Mama Rose in Gypsy.  She stopped the show with a standing ovation for "Everything's Coming Up Roses."
*Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou taking their fifth curtain call in "Sweeney Todd," to cheers and thunderous applause.
NOW, ADD to my "tops" list the incomparable Tony Bennett and the sublime Lady Gaga.
Did I weep?  You bet.  Through nearly the entire concert.
Saying good-bye:  Bennett and Gaga leave the floor
at the Axis in Planet Hollywood, to raves and cheers.
Don't be wary at the 60-year age gap.  (Bennett is a spry and handsome 88 and Gaga is a sophisticated, flirty 28.)  The two are fast friends and exciting collaborators.
We've seen them twice since we reveled in their sold-out New Year's Eve show at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.  We bought tickets in March for their recent two-day gig at Planet Hollywood's Axis Theater, also in Las Vegas.
The show was stunning, an immediate "tops" on a list formed from more than 5,000 plays and concerts enjoyed in my lifetime.
THE BENNETT-GAGA show is
full of life and love. It's obvious the two love and respect one another's great gifts as they honor Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and Gershwin. Soulful phrasing, fabulous arrangements and the world's finest musicians make an irresistible combination.
Fabulous Indian fare in Bay Area bistro, click here
I FIRST heard of the unique collaboration in a New Yorker story. I'd seen Bennett and Gaga in separate concerts -- loved both for their style, flair and precision.  He asked her to record a duet on a favorite album, "Duets II," and in 2011, they recorded “Lady Is a Tramp” then a full album, "Cheek to Cheek," also the name of their ambitious tour.
 I love the collaboration. She keeps him youthful.  He adds to her elegance. Their arrangements are
Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Sinatra
in the Copa Room of the old Sands Hotel,
imploded to make room for the Venetian.
timeless.  If a CD can wear out, mine will soon.  "Cheek to Cheek" goes with us -- it's been to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East since its top debut on Billboard's Hot 100.  I cried (of course) when it won a Grammy for best traditional pop vocals. I was thrilled to hear “But Beautiful,” "I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” and “I Won’t Dance” on this tour.
EACH ARTIST takes turns performing solo, so Lady Gaga can change into a half-dozen costumes.
While she's becoming a sultry blonde or sexy redhead, Bennett croons classics like “The Good Life,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Sing You Sinners” and his signature "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."  Gaga sings jazz standards including “Bang Bang,” Billy Strayhorn's beautiful “Lush Life” and a bouncy “Firefly,” which Bennett joins. (BTW: Tony is happily married for years.) A crystal-studded curtain and fabulous orchestra set the show's glittery tone.
WHO KNOWS how many shows Tony Bennett has in him.  Years more, if the music gods deem.
Meanwhile, he's dipping from the fountain of youth, touring the world with his "Lady." We'll catch them often as we can -- in London at the Royal Albert Hall, and the Hollywood Bowl. Who knows, maybe we'll be invited to her wedding. She's asked Tony to sing! Psst: Have I mentioned I play a mean piano?
WHO ELSE makes my top list of performances? That's the next "whereiscookie."
Cookie Meyers and Bruce Keller (Cookie and Keller)
on the town and about to dance cheek to cheek.
  
CATCH US at lilianslast dance for updates on our novel,"Lilian's Last Dance," -- with our unique twist on exciting readings, workshops and more. This weekend, we're in Phoenix for readings and signings at the Ironwood Library and beyond.
"Lilian's Last Dance" is out in paperback, available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. We're on a national tour of readings and signings.  We're booking into the fall now and would be delighted to read for your book club or civic group. Contact us at: lilianslastdance@gmail.com 
We'll continue our "cheek to cheek" revels, and we put the concerts back here, as you asked!
Thanks for giving us a shout out about what you like -- and what you don't!

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