A month or so ago, a couple of the Usual Suspects (The Original Bill and Sinister Linda) asked if we would be interested in seeing Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero (a/k/a “Connie Francis”) in concert, as she would be appearing at a nearby venue. I had been a fan of Connie Francis back in the day, as were most peeps, but knowing that she’s even longer in the tooth than I (by damned near a decade), I was sort of “Feh” about the adventure. But, seeing as how our friends were going and Mrs. Parkway wanted to go, I agreed.
On the night of the concert, I was kicking myself in the ass that I agreed to go, but I was looking forward to the pre-show dinner with two of the Usual Suspects. After eating a table full of Pub Grub, drinking a few pints and having more than a few laughs, we were off to the show. Once seated, I checked out the
band orchestra and was most impressed. By my count, there were 17 or 18 musicians, including a couple of violinists and even a harpist. There was a drummer and a percussion guy who played, among other things, the tympani drums. The guitar player doubled on mandolin. Lots of brass. A first-class assemblage.
The orchestra opened with a overture of several of Connie’s hits (She’s had a bunch of them), which was most impressive. Connie took the stage and sang a couple opening cover tunes, after which she sang some of her many hits, including her first and possibly most famous one. Many of the songs were paired with a slide show retrospective of her life and career. Between songs, she spoke about her life in New Jersey and the highs and lows of her career, including her four failed marriages.
Following an intermission, she returned to sing several songs she has recorded in foreign languages, including “Mama,” which brought the house down.
I was thoroughly entertained and was pleasantly surprised that she still could lay it in. Sure, her fastball has lost a bit of heat, but no more than would be expected of someone in her early seventies. Only one tune was a bit of a train wreck (“Old Time Rock and Roll”), when she got ahead of the orchestra, but the orchestra leader handled it well – so well that I heard it, but no one else in our group noticed.
The bottom line is that if you grew up listening to Connie Francis’s music (either on your own, or via your parents), you would enjoy seeing her in concert – an American woman with a most impressive musical career.