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Rick Michel's Blog

Sinatra in Seattle
06/06/2014
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Toes tapping, people dancing and swingers swaying in the Westin Seattle’s hotel lobby as I belt out one Sinatra hit after another, teasing those there for the League of American Orchestras 2014 Conference with what could be if Frank … A Musical Journey was performed with their musicians.

This was the scene just a couple nights ago and it made one of Frank Sinatra’s most memorable live compilations even more special for me. On June 9, 1957, nearly 57 years earlier, The Voice mesmerized audiences in Seattle at the Seattle Civic Auditorium with a set list that would become famous among Sinatra fans – many of whom consider this era the very best of his career.

I have even read that his rendition of The Lady is a Tramp is the first time he did the song in concert. That’s mind blowing for me to think that a song that has become synonymous with Sinatra – a certified signature song if there ever was one – has had its first performance, an absolute spectacular vocalization, forever captured on CD.

The CD, released in 1999 under the Sinatra Family’s Artanis label, is individually numbered as a limited edition and plated in 24-carat gold. The ’57 in Concert – that’s the title of the CD – recording circulated for years as a bootleg, but was finally made an official Sinatra album with this release.

I love the Sinatra dialogue that’s included on the CD. Being able to connect with the audience is a must for any live performer and is something I pride myself in being able to do – it sets the best apart from the rest – and Frank’s relaxed, very humorous banter made the venerable Seattle Civic Auditorium sound like an intimate night club. I especially love the reference to Crown Royal whiskey, a special blend that was only available in Canada until 1964 – the man knew his whiskey!

Pick up a copy of the album if you can, it even features legendary arranger and bandleader, Nelson Riddle – it’s not cheap, but it’s a classic example of Frank at the top of his game live and in concert.