Ron "Ran" Waite Wing

In Concert: Michael Feinstein

In Concert: Michael Feinstein
by Ran

  Watching Michael Feinstein perform is like going to a master class on how to entertain.  Since his debut in 1988 he has received four Grammy nominations, recorded 22 albums and opened a nightclub in Manhattan called Feinstein's at the Regency.  That perpetual Pepsodent smile; the theatrical affectations; the classic songs; that smooth as silk voice, now I know why he is considered one of the premiere interpreters of American popular song.

  I was fortunate enough to see him perform at the Turning Stone Casino on April 29, 2005.  It was his first time in upstate New York .  He performed with a fine backing band (bass, drums, reeds, trumpet and keyboards), which included Rosemary Clooney's former pianist/arranger John Oddo.  Michael started his set with a jazzy version of Cole Porter's "At Long Last Long," and included such gems as Rogers and Hart's "My Romance," Julie Stine and Sammy Cahn's "Time After Time," Irving Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band," plus George and Ira Gershwin's "Embraceable You" and "Someone To Watch Over Me."  He also threw in several Academy Award nominated songs, not all well-known.  The man sure knows how to hold a note!  I have to say that his cover of Julie London 's "Girl Talk" and Harry Warren's "Lullaby of Broadway" were two of the standout performances of the evening.  The arrangements to many of these songs were beautiful and innovative.  Whether standing at the mike or accompanying himself on piano, he 

offered a varied collection of musical styles and compositions.  It was fun to listen to him sing a boogie woogie song entitled "Pigfoot Pete" and even more surprising to hear him end the show with Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire."

  It was equally as much fun to watch him interact with the audience.  From the looks of the audience, you needed an AARP card to buy a ticket, but they ate him up.  He kidded with a woman who was sitting near the stage and had a man join him on stage during one number.  They loved all of his humorous antidotes and he dropped enough names to impress us for weeks.

  Prior to walking off stage he told us that "to share this music is a privilege," and he was rewarded with a standing ovation.  For his encore he dedicated a tune to his best friend and mentor: Rosemary Clooney.  As he said, "she's not famous for this song, but she sang it definitively for me."  He then sang her classy arrangement of "Memory/The Way We Were."  He bowed, saluted the audience and walked off the stage.  I couldn't help but be reminded of another great showman that evening, Liberace.  It was a night of beautiful music, laughter and my chance to hear yet another OUT artist.  You can find Michael Feinstein online at

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