Friday, April 19, 2024

Concert Review: Vic Damone at the Kravis Center

Last Saturday evening was a night to remember at the sold out Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. Why, you might ask? Well, it marked the return of the crooner that has become the voice of The American Songbook for the past 65 years – Vic Damone.

There wasn’t a single seat to be had as Damone, whose last appearance at this venue was 10 years ago, magically turned the packed house back to the songs that made him famous and delighted audiences wherever he performed. He flew in his conductor, Richard Hayman and his guitarist, Don Demarco (from New York) who, along with the 60-piece orchestra, made music that we not only love but seldom hear today. Songs like, “On The Street Where You Live,” “An Affair to Remember,” “Embraceable You,” “September Song” and “Dream” all had the audience humming to themselves while wishing a dance floor was near so they could take their sweethearts in their arms and dance the night away.

In particular, there were two memorable parts of his performance that captivated the audience. His tribute to his mentor, Frank Sinatra, was one-of-a kind and was accented by his vivid remembrances of “Old Blue Eyes.” And his haunting rendition of “Ruby” with his 92-year-old conductor and lyricist, Richard Hayman, playing the harmonica to the song he memorialized brought the house down and concluded with a standing ovation.

Damone, a native of Brooklyn, has come a long way since he was the voice of “Coppertone,” the suntan lotion that introduced him as Vic Damone for Coppertone. The classy 82-year-old, who rarely makes public appearances, was humorous (he has a passion for lasagna and was reiterated more than once) and very nostalgic, which at this time in our lives, is welcomed.

When you can hum and sing the lyrics to his songs, you know for certain that you will be labeled a “Damone groupie.” I’m damn proud of it. If he ever comes back again I will be the first person in line to purchase a ticket. If you need a fix on the real songs of The American Songbook, listen every Sunday from 3-5 p.m. to Dick Robinson’s, “Great American Songbook”, on 90.7 WXEL. I’m sure you will be reunited with Vic Damone and the songs that have made the American past so enduring.

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