I had the honor of seeing 3 musical greats perform this past weekend in NYC. Friday night I saw Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga at Radio City Music Hall, and Saturday night was Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden.
I can definitely call myself a little monster. I have been a loyal Gaga fan since she came out with her first hit "Just Dance", and have followed her career voraciously ever since. I've seen her twice in concert, so was so excited when I received these tickets for Christmas. I also love Tony Bennett. He is a national treasure, and I used to dance to his songs in my broadway jazz style dance classes as a teenager. I feel so at home listening to his genre of music. When their album "Cheek to Cheek" released, I was so eager to listen to it because I love both of them. On Friday night, the duo sang more than 30 songs with a large orchestra behind, and a sold out multi-generational audience ahead of them in the gorgeous Radio City theater. At 88 years old, Bennett moved with such ease and had the voice of someone at least three decades younger. He crossed the stage with such grace and humility, looked fantastic in an elegant navy suit, and his sense of humor and charm were just loveable. On the other hand, Gaga, 29, fluttered around the stage with such eccentricity and energy, which is why I just love her so much. Her succession of extravagant showgirl outfits and wigs reminded me so much of the legends before her time; Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler. Her sparkling caftans with matching turbans, red feather shawl, and crystal jumpsuit screamed "I'm here and I'm saucy!".
(Gaga's makeup look on Friday night)
Bennet and Gaga sang sets independently and also together. My favorite song by Gaga was a bright and aggressive version of Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose", sung mostly in French and showcased her incredible vocal skills. She wore a silk light pink dress with large bow in front and reminded me of Marilyn Monroe.
Bennett sang Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" and had me in tears. He told a story of when he recorded that song that he was so surprised to receive a hand written note from Chaplin thanking him for making his song popular again. The duo sang "Cheek to Cheek" together, which had the crowd cheering and clapping on their feet by the end. Despite their nearly 60 year age difference, both iconic musicians have great musical chemistry together and reminded me a bit of a grandfather-granddaughter relationship. I expected Bennett to be fabulous because of his experience and wisdom in the business, but I was thrilled with Lady Gaga's performance. The show was a substantial indication that Lady Gaga could sing the phone book and make it sound good. The show demonstrated that the duo has a genuine friendship and an absolute love for jazz music.
Saturday night I saw Billy Joel at the Garden!!! I was lucky to see him on the same night that he tied Elton John for 64 performances at MSG. He says, "There are a lot of venues out there, but only one Madison Square Garden my home away from home,". Joel has been performing at the Garden every month since 2014, and promises to do so as long as fans demand it. Guest star Richie Sambora joined him on stage for the 4 song encore. At 65 years old, Joel is sill able to electrify the crowd, his vocals remain effortless, and boy can he play that piano! My favortie songs of the evening were crowd classics "Piano Man", "New York State of Mind", and the epic "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant".
I can't believe I saw these two acts this past weekend. I'm such a lucky woman! All three artists are from New York, and I'm so proud to say I call NYC my home.