Tues, March 7, 1989
Frank Sinatra; Liza Minnelli; Sammy Davis Jr.
(Sydney Entertainment Center; 10,000 seats; $A250 top)
SYDNEY -- Billed "The Ultimate Event," this brief two-city visit Down Under is reportedly the biggest grossing tour ever in the country not surprising considering the ticket prices, the highest yet for any concert here.
There were "cheap" seats too lowest price was $A65 but it's unlikely anyone up in the rafters felt left out, as three showbiz legends opened their arms and embraced each audience member in a delightful evening of song and patter.
By the time Ol' Blue Eyes stepped onto the stage unannounced, the atmosphere in a normally unatmospheric arena, with audiences on four sides, was electric. Before interval, Sammy Davis Jr. and Liza Minnelli entertained for 40 minutes each. Both were dynamic.
Davis has toured Australia more times than he can remember, but never has such a large gathering had the pleasure of hearing the power of his voice. He's a diminutive figure on the bare stage, but his belting out songs with such emotion, never misplacing a note, had more than one female in the crowd in tears. His ability to create theater was highlighted in numbers such as "Bojangles" and "Music Of The Night" (from "Phantom Of The Opera"). Standards like "For Once In My Life" and "Candy Man" were also highlights.
Minnelli also expressed great affection for Oz, although one suspects her joie de vivre is irrepressible wherever she is. Her performance was sheer briliiance. Sparkling in silver, she delivered numbers from "Gypsy" and "Cabaret" at a powerhouse, breathless rate. Still youthful and unfailingly energetic, her every song was a showstopper.
Frank Sinatra may have lacked the force and intensity of his costars, but at 73 he can still captivate, and his tenderness towards the audience (and reported acts of generosity during his visit) proved there really are no more hard feelings in this neck of the woods.
His voice is no longer as assured, nor is his memory he relied on an autocue much of the time but the audience was ever effusive as he sang "Strangers In The Night," "I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry," "Mack The Knife" and "My Way."
Referred to as "Uncle Frank" and "The Chairman" by Minnelli and Davis, Sinatra was firmly in place at the top of the pecking order.
However, he was clearly outsung in the final set, in which all three delivered a selection from "Guys And Dolls," followed by a lengthy medley of hits leading to the finale of "New York, New York." But even the young and cynical could not fail to be mesmerized by the experience of seeing three such entertainers performing with such good old-fashioned warmth, sincerity and vitality, especially with the knowledge that such a show might not grace an Aussie stage again for a long time. Krug.