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THE FRANK SINATRA COLLECTION: Ol’ Blue eyes Is Back & The Main Event.

EREDV1241 Running time: 104m. approx. Region 0.

 

 

 

Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back (1973 :

You Will Be My Music

I Get a Kick out of You

Street of Dreams

I’ve Got You under My Skin

I’ve Got the World on a String

Medley: Last Night When We Were Young; Violets for Your Furs; Here’s That Rainy Day

Medley with Gene Kelly: We Can’t Do That Anymore; Take Me to the Ball Game; For Me and My Gal; Private Skinny; Nice ‘n’ Easy (duet with Kelly)

Let Me Try Again

Send in the Clowns

You Will Be My Music (reprise)

Music arranged and conducted by Gordon Jenkins and Don Costa

The Main Event (1974) :

Introduction by Howard Cosell

Instrumental Medley : It Was a Very Good Year; All the Way; My Kind of Town

The Lady Is a Tramp

I Get a Kick Out of You

Let Me Try Again

Autumn in New York

I’ve Got You under My Skin

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

Angel Eyes

You Are the Sunshine of My Life

The House I Live In

My Kind of Town

My Way

Musical supervisor Don Costa

These two shows comprise part of the Frank Sinatra Collection which “brings together some of Frank Sinatra’s finest performances on television and in concert.” The first, a concert before a live studio audience which includes some well-known celebrities of the time, such as Sammy Davis, Jr. and Lucille Ball among others, was broadcast on NBC on November 18, 1973. This was the time when Sinatra returned from a brief retirement in the early seventies. Many of the songs are familiar Sinatra vehicles, and several of them were included in the LP album released at the time with the same name as that of this concert. Not being a diehard Sinatra buff, I was not too familiar with Let Me Try Again and those in the medley, other than the first. The last two were in quite different keys, and it seems to me that Sinatra struggled just a little in spots to find the right key. But I would imagine that he chose the material, and he felt comfortable with these choices. Lastly, while Send in the Clowns is often given a thumbs down for being on the maudlin side, Sinatra redeems it with a very good reading and rendition, one which brings out the pathos very nicely.

The highlight of this set for me was the section where Sinatra was accompanied by Kelly. They were a couple of old troupers from vaudevillian days, and whether it was the film clips from the early times of their careers or the contemporary ones, they certainly brought it off with the hoofing and the singing. The audience (and it was also something of a kick to see the attire and, especially, the hairdos of the time on display again!) was a very partisan one which was inclined to cheer and give standing ovations to anything Sinatra did. But it rightfully gave such a reception to these two old pro’s for most of their act together.

The other half of this DVD presents a concert from Madison Square Garden in New York, (hence the “Main Event” of the title), introduced by Howard Cosell just as he would introduce boxing events there, although it was a bit of a stretch to apply such a pugilistic milieu to this one of a vocalist’s concert. The singer is backed here by celebrated clarinetist and bandleader Woody Herman together with New York musicians and a string section. After his “introduction,” Cosell fades from the picture, mercifully never to return.

Here again Sinatra romps through so many of his standards, age not having taken much of a toll, his voice not yet showing the ravages of time—this was Ol’ Blue Eyes (or as he was known in the early days of his career, "The Voice" and "The Sultan of Swoon") at his best, the years seeming to fall away, and the audience, some 20,000 strong, loving it, some singing along with him at times even. Whether he noticed, he made no mention of it nor did he chastise anyone. He was rightfully cheered for his efforts, even when he stamped a foot as the drummer accented some notes along with musical breaks in the songs.

The only item I would “pick a nit” about would be the Jim Croce song Bad, Bad Leroy Brown. Certainly Sinatra gave it his best shot, but I question his decision to include it—there are so many other much better songs, more suited to Sinatra than this one. Needless to say, the audience would not have agreed with me. It is followed by another Sinatra gem, the closer My Way, a song which he virtually “owned.”

This DVD will appeal greatly to those who are diehard fans of the Chairman of the Board. Those in attendance at both affairs certainly were such aficionados. As the man himself said about his performances elsewhere—and demonstrated here—"When I sing, I believe. I'm honest."

Bert Thompson



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