Posts Tagged ‘MUSIC. Paul Anka show’




Paul Anka in the Great Auditorium. Photo by Tracey James, Blogfinger staff.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  Blogfinger.net


Shelley Belusar, who books the acts for the CMA, was amazed when Paul Anka’s crew arrived at the GA on Saturday morning.  He brought a synchronized production  team that included sound, lighting and staging personnel.  They set up a massive backdrop of drapes that turned out to be dazzling light reflectors.  They placed small platforms around the auditorium for Anka to stand on as he moved through the room, and they prepared a multimedia presentation that recreated Vegas.

When Anka came on stage, he was surrounded by a 12 piece orchestra. The allocation of musicians was a bit peculiar: 2 trombones, 1 sax, 3 trumpets, synthesizer  and a bongo player—in addition to the mandatory piano, bass, drum and guitar.  But they were a superb stage band with a big brassy sound.  The show was a model of professionalism, showmanship and glitz.  The program included a wide array of musical styles, performed with great zest and skill; it was a satisfying show in terms of musicianship.  Among the best songs were Mack the Knife, For Once in my Life, Jump, She’s a Lady, It Doesn’t Matter Any More, and many other famous hits.

We tend to think of Paul Anka as a rock and roll kid whose friends included performers like Buddy Holly and Annette Funicello, but those years passed and Anka became a show business great whose mentor was Frank Sinatra and whose friends included the big stars of that  Copacabana, Las Vegas, New York-New York and Hollywood era.  Over the last half century, in addition to performing,  he wrote music for many stars besides himself, including the theme song for the Tonight Show.

Last night,  Paul, dressed in a dark three piece suit, shirt and tie, was a dynamo for 1 1/2 hours of pure energetic entertainment. He is tan, trim and fit, and his voice is still magnificent. You couldn’t avoid imagining Frank Sinatra on stage, because Paul Anka is built like Frank, sounds like him and even has mannerisms like “old blue eyes.”

A remarkable element to Anka’s  performance is his enthusiasm. He seemed to be having a wonderful time as he went out into the audience and interacted with the crowd in a way that had a few thousand people standing, shouting, whistling and even running up and down the aisles.


Paul Anka works the large crowd in the GA.   Photo by Tracey James


The show was less about his famous hits (“Diana, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, etc.”) than it was about music from his entire career. He paid tribute to Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Van Halen and Sammy Davis, Jr.

A giant screen came down several times to show photos of himself as a chubby kid and then a teen-age heart-throb. He showed a movie performance of Sammy Davis singing an Anka song, “Let Me Try Again,” and then, in a brilliant staging maneuver, the band and Anka seamlessly joined in that performance from fifty years ago . It was thrilling.

Here’s Paul Anka with a song from his album “Live in Las Vegas.”  He sang “For Once in My Life” last night in the GA.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  Congratulations to Shelley and the CMA for bringing this exciting show to the GA.  It should be noted that Paul Anka, like Tony Bennett, remarked on the uniqueness of the Great Auditorium.  Performers love the structure, the crowd and the acoustics. Parking gets tight on such a Saturday night, but the concerts tend to be only about 2 hours long.

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