Monday, November 28, 2016

Bobby Rydell Concert Review

It seems like we've been talking about the Bobby Rydell show at The Arcada Theatre forever!!!  But this past Saturday Night, November 26th, it finally happened ... and we were on hand to enjoy all the festivities. 

After a warm-up set by local favorite Bobby Abrams, Bobby took the stage with a band that included a piano, bass and drums along with a nine-piece brass section.  They filled the stage and were clearly seasoned players (although my guess is the orchestration was a local hire, supplied with sheet music for Bobby's set.) 

Bobby stressed during our week-long interview (now permanently posted on The Forgotten Hits Website in its entirety, here: that his act today consists primarily of selections from The Great American Songbook ... and to that extent he delivered on his promise.  In fact, very few of his OWN hits were featured during Saturday Evening's presentation, in favor of tributes to Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra and a GREAT rendition of "Teach Me Tonight", which he originally recorded as a duet with Chubby Checker back in 1962.  (Several selections were performed while seated in a chair ... but let me tell you, this guy can SING!!!  Lumped in with many of the pretty boy, teen idols of the day, Bobby Rydell was the one who really had a voice ... and was able to sing, dance, act, drum, do stand-up ... in every sense, the all-around ENTERTAINER of his generation.  As such at a very early age he was already performing at The Copa and in Las Vegas with some of the biggest names in show business at the time.)   

One might expect that after all the stress and turmoil his body has been through over the years ... heart attacks and organ transplants ... not to mention a love affair with the bottle that went on for decades ... his voice and spirit may have been weakened some ... but Rydell was in EXCELLENT, strong voice throughout his set and, while admittedly tired afterwards, put on the show he knew his fans had come to expect.  In this respect, he didn't disappoint ... it was a solid show, start to finish.

The steady diet of standards may have worn a little thin throughout the evening for some of the fans who came to hear the hits ... however, when Bobby launched into his #2 Smash from 1960, "Wild One", fifty years melted away before your very eyes ... and a youthfulness returned to his voice, his facial expression and his shuffle dance moves.  (The man in 74 years old ... but looked and sounded fifty years younger during the presentation of this fan favorite.) 

As I said, he didn't do a lot of his own hits ... a slowed-down, off-tempo version of my favorite, "Forget Him", led into "Wild One" ... but after that the only treats from his own hit catalog were "Sway" (which he explained Dean Martin and Michael Buble also cut ... but HIS was the biggest hit version of the song) and the finale, "Volare", performed to a standing ovation.  Considering that Bobby had 22 Top 50 Hits during his career (including seven Top 10's), only performing four of them did leave the audience feeling a little bit cheated.  (See reviews below)  Bobby didn't do a book signing afterwards (which I really expected him to do) or a meet and greet with the fans, many of whom brought souvenirs from back in the day for him to sign.  I was fortunate enough to be among a select few fans who got to say hello after the show, but at that point I think Bobby really just wanted to pack it in for the night.

Overall, an enjoyable evening of entertainment ... and I have no doubt that Bobby gave it everything he had.  (Perhaps he doesn't find working with The Golden Boys quite as personally taxing as he's splitting the load with Frankie Avalon and Fabian ... but it was a good, solid solo show by a very talented, all-around entertainer.)  
[special thanks to Luciano Bilotti for all the cool photos!]

Went to Bobby Rydell's concert at the Arcada Saturday.  I came away impressed and also a little let down. His voice was strong and the band was great.  He did a lot of big band nightclub type songs that were done to perfection, but where were the songs that brought him to the dance? No Wildwood Days, Kissin' Time, We Got Love, etc. I thought after he finished he would come out and do a medley for his encore but he never came back. I know he's had health problems and sat for much of the show, so maybe doing the uptempo songs were a little hard for him. It was still a fantastic show, but when I got home I had to get out his album and listen to the hits I should have heard earlier.  
Ed K
Hi Kent,  
Thanks to you and Ron Onesti for the tickets to the Bobby Rydell concert Saturday night. I’m sorry we did not get to connect at the concert.  
My wife Barbara thoroughly enjoyed our evening in St. Charles, including the Electric Christmas Parade, before attending the concert. 
Bobby Rydell was on stage about 75 minutes and showed what being a “pro” is all about. He delighted the crowd with his singing, stories, and humor (with a decidedly Italian flavor). 
Bobby was backed by a 13 piece band, including his own people on piano, bass, and drums, and a guest 10 piece horn section.  The music was great but the strength of the brass occasionally overpowered Bobby’s vocals. 
Bobby sang just four of his own hits (Sway, Forget Him, Wild One and Volare), a disappointment to us. The rest of the show consisted of various 50’s standards, including “What’s New”, “Teach Me Tonight” and salutes to Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra. 
Bobby’s voice was strong and clear, but he often did not sustain notes, understandable considering his age (74). We felt Bobby’s voice was stronger on the standards than on his own hits. 
I missed the backing of girl singers -- so much a part of the Bobby Rydell sound. Perhaps it was this absence that led to Bobby not doing more of his classic hits. 
It was a real pleasure to see this great entertainer (and one of my all-time favorites) in person at a great venue. 
Bob Verbos 
New Berlin, WI