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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 30, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 13
Burt Bacharach definitely gave fans something to remind them of his songwriting magic at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley
Arts & Entertainment
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Burt Bacharach definitely gave fans something to remind them of his songwriting magic at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

BURT BACHARACH
DIMITRIOU'S JAZZ ALLEY
March 22


Proving that age is nothing but a number, Burt Bacharach wowed a capacity crowd at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley last Thursday evening, his first of four sold out concerts at the downtown live music venue.

At 82, the maestro songwriter played piano and cheerfully interacted with the audience for two solid hours, but with the energy of a youngster who probably stayed up way past everybody's bedtime that night. He was so jovial and arrived prepared with short, interesting stories to share.

Accompanied by a full band, including a brass section and violinist, the show kicked off with 'What the World Needs Now,' sung by a trio of vocalists who did the heavy lifting when it came to singing. A medley followed that included several big hits, such as 'Don't Make Me Over,' 'Walk on By' and 'This Guy's in Love with You,' which featured a soft trumpet solo by Dennis Wilson.

Dressed in navy blue pants with matching dinner coat and a baby blue button-down shirt underneath, the legendary artist, who owns multiple Grammy and Academy Awards, incorporated more familiar favorites into another medley, including 'I Say a Little Prayer,' 'Trains and Boats and Planes,' 'Wishin' and Hopin',' '(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me' and a sassy rendition of 'Do You Know the Way to San Jose?,' a tune made popular by Dionne Warwick, who has recorded several of Bacharach's classics.

The trio of vocalists were consistently good throughout the performance, although there were moments when the song or the arrangement didn't quite match the particular singer, such as Donna Taylor's fire-lacking delivery of 'Falling Out of Love,' a ballad originally recorded by none other than Aretha Franklin.

A standout was a delicate, passionate version of '(They Long to Be) Close to You,' featuring all three vocalists - Taylor, Josie James and John Pagano - who were each wearing black outfits.

A medley of film music included 'Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do),' 'What's New Pussycat?,' 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head' and 'Alfie,' sung by Bacharach himself in a hushed, raspy voice.

Oliver Bacharach, the celebrated artist's handsome son, who graduated just a few years ago from the University of Oregon, played electric keyboards on some numbers.

'It's like working in a big living room,' said Bacharach to the audience, referring to the intimacy of the space, which filled every seat on the main floor, two-sided bar and a second level of tables and chairs directly above the bar.

The show concluded with a loud sing-along of the AIDS-fundraising hit 'That's What Friends Are For,' which found the crowd waving its hands side to side in the air.

This was a pretty sublime performance, especially to be taken down memory lane, by a man who wrote some of the most nostalgic songs in history. Like his music, the evening was pure magic.

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