Oh, what a night at the Metropolitan Opera House. Oh my, my, my, my, my.
At 85 years old, Tony Bennett made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House this evening. The concert tickets sold out pretty quickly when the date was announced last summer. Haglund scored one of the last seats in the far-front side box of the dress circle. Little did he know how perfect that awful seat would be.
The stage floor of the opera house was extended over top of the orchestra pit, and Tony's four piece orchestra was set up in front of the red curtain. The sightline from the side box was such that not only could Haglund clearly see both hands of the pianist, but he could actually read the front of the teleprompter. A teleprompter? Why would Tony need a teleprompter? Is he forgetting lyrics these days? Hardly.
When Haglund opened the Playbill, he gasped in utter disbelief. How did they manage to keep this a secret?! Tony Bennett was bringing friends to the opera house to make their own debuts with him! Aretha Franklin. Unbelievable. Alejandro Sanz from Spain. Unbelievable. And S I R E L T O N J O H N !! Unbelievable10x10!
Haglund was losing it, right there in the Met. He was trying to text everyone he knew, but couldn't get a signal. All of a sudden, the house lights dimmed, and everyone calmed down waiting for the announcer to introduce Tony Bennett.
Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen. Please welcome President Bill Clinton.
OMG! BILL CLINTON! Yes, THAT Bill Clinton walked right out onto the Metropolitan Opera House stage to do the warm-up for Tony Bennett. Well, it was actually a tribute – and a pretty nice one at that. He noted that as most singers age, their voices change and they sometimes have difficulty with pitch. He then spoke about all the great humanitarian contributions that Tony Bennett has made as well as his Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria and his internationally acclaimed paintings. Clinton concluded by saying that Tony Bennett had led "a life of perfect pitch." He then introduced Tony who nearly got knocked over by the crowd's roar when he came out on stage.
Clinton then left the stage and retreated to the Parterre where he sat for the whole concert with Hillary. Yes, HILLARY CLINTON WAS THERE TOO. Unbelievable10x10!
Tony Bennett sang and sang, and then Aretha Franklin came out for a song. They used the teleprompter to keep straight who would sing which lines. Tony sang some more after which the young Alejandro Sanz came out for a duet. Tony sang some more and then the Great Elton John came on stage dressed formally in black and nothing pink. He and Tony sang one duet, and then Tony solo-ed the concert home. He sang so many old favorites, and when he got to Shadow of Your Smile, he laid the microphone on the piano and came to the front of the stage to sing unamplified to the audience in the mammoth Metropolitan Opera House - just like all the great ones do. The audience had to be especially quiet at this point, but Tony got his voice to the top of the house.
Tony Bennett. Tony Bennett. Style. Substance. Staying power. Oh, and he did tonight's concert free as a donation to the Met. Style.