Judge Victor Valdivia wants to give a concert for exactly one America. He'll flip a coin to decide which one.
Our reviews of Frank Sinatra: Around The World (published June 1st, 2011), Frank Sinatra: The Frank Sinatra Shows (published September 17th, 2008), and Frank Sinatra: The Man And The Myth (published March 24th, 2005) are also available.
The undisputed Chairman of the Board.
Now this is how good a concert DVD can get. Concert for the Americas reissues a legendary performance by Frank Sinatra from the early '80s, and though he was approaching 70 years old at the time, this is by no means sad or painful to watch. If anything, it proves that Sinatra, no matter his age or where he was performing, always gave his all onstage and expected nothing less than the same from his collaborators. It's truly one of Sinatra's best performances.
Concert for the Americas was recorded August 20, 1982 at the Altos de Chavon Amphitheater in Romana, the Dominican Republic. Sinatra was joined by the Buddy Rich Orchestra featuring drummer Buddy Rich and guitarist Tony Mottola. Here is the setlist:
• "I've Got the World on a String"
Sinatra is in top form. His voice may not be quite as supple as it once was, but what he lacks in some flexibility he more than makes up for in maturity. He can take a hoary saloon chestnut like "The Gal That Got Away" and find new dimensions in it. He can also swing brassily on a more uptempo number like "My Kind of Town" without missing a beat. If anything, this is possibly the most definitive Sinatra concert DVD, mainly because it encompasses every aspect of his career, from his delicate take on "Searching" to the show's roaring closer "Theme from New York, New York." You might quibble over a missing favorite or two (it would have been nice to hear "That's Life!" or "One for My Baby," for instance) but for the most part, this is as complete a Sinatra concert as you might want.
The guest appearances are also enjoyable. Though Rich's orchestra provides the musical backing, he only plays on one song, his instrumental showcase "The Jet Song." Nonetheless, he proves why he's one of the most revered drummers in musical history, thrashing and pounding harder than anyone this side of Keith Moon (who frequently cited Rich as his favorite drummer). Mottola's tasteful and elegant guitar playing is also a pleasure. The gorgeous and melancholy version of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corcovado" that he and Sinatra do together is possibly the concert's high point.
Technically, Shout! Factory has done a typically superb job. The concert was shot on video but doesn't look grainy or washed-out, as older videos sometimes do. The fullscreen transfer looks remarkably vivid with bright colors and no glitches or noticeable grain. The 5.1 surround mix is exceptional. It makes the orchestra sound as full and rich as possible, but it also does justice to Sinatra's vocals in even the quietest moments. There are no extras, unfortunately.
Nonetheless, this is still worth seeing. For newcomers this has some of Sinatra's most beloved songs captured in one of his best performances. For longtime fans, it's a chance to get one of his best concerts in a pristine remastered DVD. In either case, Concert for the Americas is a must for anyone interested in Sinatra's music.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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