Monday, June 01, 2015
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga at the Hollywood Bowl
It was a sold out show, and judging by the number of biker chicks in prom dresses I’d say most were there to see Gaga.
Security people were carding everybody trying to get into the wine bar before the show. I told the guy an easier way than asking everyone to produce ID was just to ask who they were there to see. If they said Tony Bennett just let ‘em in.
Every Saturday evening it seems I get twenty Facebook photos from friends in boxes at the Bowl toasting the camera and eating Chilean sea bass. Those of us in the bleachers don’t upload photos. We're trekking back down the hill to rent seat cushions.
The Hollywood Bowl always features a great summer program featuring several classical series, numerous pop series, and they kick it off with a sunrise service every Easter where Jesus is always scheduled to appear but something invariably comes up and He’s a no-show.
The Bowl’s clamshell stage is iconic, the acoustics are wonderful, but I miss the swimming pool. At one time a swimming pool separated the stage from the box seats. How LA is that? I don’t know why they took it out. Probably a number of drug-addled rock bands of the ‘60s had members who drowned or electrocuted themselves during sound checks.
As for the concert itself, Tony Bennett was amazing considering he is almost 89. Lots of notes he can still hit. And he goes for them, God love him. His phrasing is also so good that he can slide around a song even if he’s struggling with it. And he looks great. I was a little disappointed that he didn’t do his biggest hit – “Capital City” from THE SIMPSONS episode that David Isaacs and I wrote (“Dancin’ Homer”), but he did do “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” which is still a crowd-pleaser except to diehard Dodger fans. Quite simply: Tony Bennett is a national treasure.
Lady Gaga has an exceptional voice and showed off some impressive vocal gymnastics, although honestly, this music is not in her wheelhouse. No, it’s not like when Pat Boone tried to sing punk rock, but I still felt she was not in her element. Had she sung a few of her own hits I wonder how many Tony Bennett fans would just turn off their hearing aids.
All in all, it was a lovely night under the stars. I’ll now be able to tell friends I saw Lady Gaga, and Lady Gaga fans will be able to brag to their friends that they saw “Some old guy.”