57 In Concert
Despite their close working relationship on a number of landmark albums, arranger-bandleader Nelson Riddle rarely appeared onstage with Frank Sinatra. This disc captures one of those concerts, a legendary Seattle show with a set list drawn mainly from the string of classic LPs the singer was in the midst of making. In fine voice and emotional shading from "I Won't Dance" to "One for My Baby," Sinatra gives a dynamic, magnetic performance that makes one wish for a time machine. Far more rewarding than DCC's recent refurbishing of a Sinatra-Martin-Davis club gig on The Summit: In Concert, Sinatra '57 is a must. --Rickey Wright
Why do I emphasize these points in a 5-star review? Because this is the best Sinatra album I own, and I own somewhere around 60 Sinatra CDs! Read on to know why I say this . . .
He seldom appeared on the road with Nelson Riddle, their collaborations were mainly studio sessions, so the orchestra is magnificent, to begin with. As the concert begins, it takes Mr. Sinatra two songs to get his voice warmed up - but when he finally gets it in gear, he gives his best-ever rendition of "At Long Last Love". He sizzles with utterly stunning versions of "I Get A Kick Out Of You", "Just One Of Those Things" and an incredible, unforgettable "Foggy Day in London Town".
After the aforementioned flubs, he miraculously regains his voice 'in medias res' (in the middle of things) and skyrockets through the rest of the second set, including a once-in-a-lifetime performance of "Oh, Look At Me Now", his finishing song, and one in which he lets it all hang out!
To hear Sinatra work his voice through some exhaustion and come out triumphantly on the other side of it, is professionalism at it's best! Never will you hear Mr. Sinatra work his voice work so earnestly to give the crowd their due, and with such classic and superb results!
This live performance put me closer in touch with Frank Sinatra than any other album - at times it's earthy, at times its gritty, but even within that framework it's the best I've heard so far from The Chairman.
The first half is a vocal tour de force, the second suffers from FS' fatigued voice, but Sinatra at half-voice is still a good listen. "Hey Jealous Lover" is a riot, but only if you already own the real studio version without the interspersed bits of monologue!
If you own the classic Capitol concept albums, this is a great addition. Otherwise, I would recommend the studio albums first. Either way, the '57 concert is a lot of fun to listen to.