Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Mellow Sinatra Charms His Fans

Cleveland Press July 7, 1967

The King -- Francis Albert Sinatra -- Mr. Entertainment himself came to town last night and there wasn't an empty seat in Public Hall.

The audience of 9,925 was mostly fortyish, plump and gray, but their idol is lot less lean than he used to be.

It was Sinatra's first Cleveland appearance since 1943. And it was that particular generation which turned out for him along with a few offspring, maybe to show the kids what their elders flipped for when they were young.

IT WAS AN AUDIENCE that responded with applause, shouts and sighs, which kept breaking the vast blackness of Public Hall with popping flashbulbs, which surged toward the stage at the close of the show to reach out and touch the man up there.

Sinatra came on for the second half of the show, occupied the stage for one hour and 29 minutes, sang 22 songs, chatted a little and gave the people their money's worth for what was probably the highest priced one night stand this town has had.

(Non-Sinatra fans might disagree, but at $12.50 a head it isn't likely there were any non fans there.)

The evening was not, however, a trip into nostalgia. More than the singer's appearance had changed in the past quarter century.

HIS VOICE HAS MELLOWED in that time and if it is not quite the perfect instrument it once was, it is far more interesting. The timber is vibrant and mature. He continues to have the clearest enunciation in the business, but more than that, he understands a lyric, gets at its insides.

He moves with self-assurance, a wandering troubadour who uses the full width of the stage. He gestures with meaning and authority.

The high and low notes are probably a little closer together than they used to be. If his breath control has changed any, it still remains good enough to be the envy of the average opera singer.

He sang songs that were both upbeat and soft and slow, and the opening bars of every one was accompanied by sounds of recognition from the audience.

He ranged back and forth between current hits and pop standard -- "Summer Wind," "Shadow of Your Smile," "Day in, Day Out," "Foggy Day," "Fly Me to the Moon,'It Was a Very Good Year" and "Strangers in the Night "

HE REACHED BACK FOR "NANCY, With the Smiling Face," a song he sang years back when his booted, mini-skirted daughter was a gurgling infant.

He dug out "Old Man River," a number that came out on a 12-inch record back in those 78-rpm days when a record that size was reserved for classics.

But those were his only concessions to the old days. It was a Sinatra who was here and now that audiences heard, not the boyish fellow of those earlier Cleveland visits, not even the tough, cocky Sinatra of recent years.

Last night, at least, he was a man who wore his cool with less aggressiveness and more confidence than he ever had. He was talent who stood up and delivered.

The first half of the program featured drummer Buddy Rich and his band, comic Pat Henry and 15 minutes of Sergio Mendes and his Brasil ';66. The band became an orchestra for the second half as it was augmented by a dozen string players.