ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK .
(photo credit: ELIRAN AVITAL)
The audience at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium was treated to a real blast from the past as Engelbert Humperdinck entertained the sold-out crowd.
Flanked by a seven-piece band and two young blonde female back-up singers, the British balladeer strolled onto the stage wearing a black tuxedo with a strip of black sequins on each side, a bright red silk shirt and a pinkie ring on each hand.
The 79-year-old crooner sang “Another Time, Another Place” and “Am I That Easy to Forget?” before telling the full house how happy he was to be back in Tel Aviv after having performed there a few years before.
One could not help but try to reconcile the image one had in the mind’s eye of the handsome heartthrob of yesteryear with the attractive but much older gentleman singing on stage. To address that conundrum head on, when he launched into singing “Love Story,” there were two large screens on each side of the theater that showed Humperdinck in his prime singing the same song. Now that he had the audience eating out of his hand; when he rendered “Lonely Is the Man without Love,” the whole audience sang along.
Humperdinck was charming throughout.
In full command of his vocals, he sang all the fan favorites, such as “Help Me Make It through the Night,” “After the Loving,” “Quando, Quando,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “You’re My Lady.” By the time he got to “The Last Waltz,” the audience was singing along again.
The concert lasted about an hour and a half with no intermission, and Humperdinck was very comfortable on stage. He told a few jokes and anecdotes here and there and said every so often, “I have to sit down,” whereby he sang a ballad from a wooden stool.
But when he sat at the foot of the stage and sang right to the audience, where you could feel the full impact of those sparkling eyes and that seductive smile, he exuded that natural charisma that knows no age.
The crooner ended the concert with a barrage of hits that included “This Moment in Time,” “The Way It Used to Be,” “Les Bicyclettes de Belsize,” “Spanish Eyes” and, of course, “Please Release Me.”
The audience didn’t want to let him go, and gave him a rousing and appreciative ovation. It was a very gratifying concert, and people left the auditorium in great spirits.
As my friend had whispered to me during the show, “I feel 16 again.”
I think that says it all.
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