Rosemary Clooney in concert

Posted by Steven Lewis on October 24, 1999 at 00:01:43:

I attended Rosemary Clooney's concert tonight with the Kansas City Symphony. Despite her poor health she seemed in good spirits and in command of her remarkably voice, which has noticeably deepened the past few years. Her face is definitely Rosie, although her body bears no resemblance whatsoever to the Rosemary Clooney of the White Christmas years. She is seriously overweight and last year had a knee replaced. She gasps for air between and during her songs. Her husband had to help her to and from the stage. On stage she either leaned against the piano or sat. She did better on slow tempo songs no doubt because of her breathing problems. She did try to sing "Come on a my house" but she struggled to keep up. Her best efforts to me were her tribute to Bob Hope ("Thanks for the Memories") and a Johnny Mercer poem "October" that was set to music after Mercer's death by Barry Manilow. She made no mention of Bing during her performance. To sum up, despite her poor health Rosie continues to be a remarkable song stylist.


Posted by Greg Van Beek on October 24, 1999 at 11:37:24:

In Reply to: Rosemary Clooney in concert posted by Steven Lewis on October 24, 1999 at 00:01:43:

In seeing some of Rosie's recent TV appearances/performances, I had the same observation as Steven. Her weight problem is now starting to affect her singing, which is a shame. She still has the same silky smooth sound, but has problems sustaining the notes. I noticed too that she seems to get out of breath quite easily. Still, she's a wonderful talent, and it's great she still gets out and performs after 50+ years in show business. Her latest album with the current Count Basie Orchestra is one of her best, a rival to "Bing 'n Basie".

While we're on the subject of concerts, last Saturday I attended a Debbie Reynolds concert here in Wisconsin, which I thoroughly enjoyed. She's still got incredible energy and vocal ability for age 67 (she told the audience she's 3 months younger than Elizabeth Taylor). She always had a pleasant singing voice, but I never realized just how strong her pipes are. She has a lot of volume and a powerful delivery. In comparing todays music to music of WW2, she sang "Three Little Fishies" as a "rap" song, doing all the movements & dancing, which was very good, not to mention hilarious. She's also a talented impressionist, something I never realized either. She did very convincing impressions of Barbra Streisand, Katherine Hepburn, Zsa Zsa Gabor, even Phil Harris! The real highlight for me was when they wheeled out a movie screen and showed clips from Debbie's MGM musicals. She stood next to the screen and told stories about the scenes (during a scene in which she shared a kiss with Sinatra, she said; "Frank Sinatra was a great kisser... we're going to miss Frank"), even singing along with herself from almost 50 years ago. It was a strange, surreal scene seeing her on the screen in 1952 singing "Good Morning" with her in virtually the same voice singing along today next to the image.

She still puts on a great show, and is most gracious, classy lady. If she comes to a town nearby, don't miss it!

Greg


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