With Covid having about shut down everything the last two years its been. especially tough for live music -for both performers and listeners. Not that there were a lot of 50s/60s oldies acts still touring. Now there even fewer .
Last night while some were watching rancid political hearings on tv we were At a much more enjoyable, a-politcal, timeless music concert, listening to the ageless Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at the classic San Jose Civic Auditorium. The only mention of politics this night was Valli’s casual aside that he didn’t care much for government intrusion of any kind
God Bless Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Not only are they one of the few active good, old touring acts but they provide an escape from today’s rancid social scene to a more congenial time and place well reflected in musical tastes.
Last night the ageless Valli- he goes back to the 1950s with The Four Lovers, well before there were four seasons- provided that much-needed escape for me. It was as if it was 1965 again, or even 1975 as Valli ran through hit after hit from his storied career that became the subject of the ‘Jersey Boys’ musical. Despite the fact that all the original Four Seasons are departed-the latest
Incarnation of ‘Seasons’ lookntonbe about a third Valli’s age, not that age should matter- Valli sounded and looked about the same he did when I saw him thirty years ago.
Some have said he has trouble now hitting those famous high notes in songs like ‘Sherry, ‘ ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry,’ and ‘Walk Like A Man’- his memorable consecutive string of three number one hits that introduced the Four Seasons in 1962- but Valli didn’t seem to miss a note all evening. He did take advantage on numerous occasions when the audience helped out with many of the famous musical ‘hooks’ and band members soloed in some songs like ‘Oh what a night’ (December, 1963).
What made the evening even more nostalgic is that the concert venue, San Jose Civic Auditorium, dates back to the 1930s. Its where Buddy Holly and Fats Domino performed in 1957 and Duke Ellington 20 years before that, as we’re reminded by old photos that now line the deco lobby and stair walls. No wonder other still -active octagenerians like Paul Anka, Bill Medley (Riggteous Bros.) and Johnny Mathis, along with Valli, seem to enjoy appearing at the Civic, what with all its style and history-and excellent accoustics, we might add.
( You can experience some of our amateur recording segments of the show in these pages, while we encourage you to purchase still-available Four Seasons music in its full length renditions, be it CD or our fave albums repleat with spectacular artwork you can’t appreciate on CDs ). In concert, many of the album covers a projected on a large screen aS you’ll see in some of these videos)
Valli sang a medley of songs from a special album, he , of ‘covers’ of others’ recordings such as Temptations’ ‘My Girl’ (I’ve Got Sunshine On A Cloudy Day’) and Rascals’ ”Groovin (on a sunny afternoon)’ .
If you want to see him in the greater Bay area you won’t have to wait long. This very active performeR will be APPEARIMG IN FRESNO Aug 20 and MOdesto NOV 18
Again, we’re lucky to have a handful
Of legendary singers still active o. The road, such as the afore mentioned Mathis, Anka, along with Valli. Its not an easy life touring, but Valli seems to enjoy it more tha. Many. He bemoaned not beimg able to perform during the pandemic nor appearing i. SAN JOSE for four years (‘was it something I said?,’ he joke with the audience) . Perhaps , the pandemic had some positive effects on Valli, perhaps the layoff and rest giving him renewed energy and appreciation of performing as he hasn’t sounded better in memory. We also got to hear more from Valli this go around. I don’t remember so much of the humorous side as we saw this time. At one point, he made brief reference to politics, saying that he didn’t care much for m government i n trusting just as there was a televised ‘Jan 6 hearing’ going on the same time as his concert.
Apparently, people are glad to have live music coming back, judging from this near-sell out of around 3,000- a bigger crowd than we remember four years ago at the same venue. A few years ago we made a point of seeing Neil Diamond, also In San Jose. Were glad we did as it turned out to be one of his last concerts – and perhaps the best we’ve seen.
Valli gets personal>