Paul Anka has give us ( those of us who recall the 60’s and 70’s) some great music and he still has it! One o the beautiful things about Chicago is that just a hop-skip and jump away, in Hammond Indiana ( about 20 minutes from the loop) is The Venue located inside the Horseshoe Casino. This 2,500 seat auditorium, with great sights lines from any vantage point ( and of course the jumbo-trons to make viewing even easier) has been bringing some great talent: Timeless, Blondie, That wonderful Tony Bennett show that I reported a few weeks ago, and Saturday night we were able to watch the greatest little bundle of talent- Paul Anka for over two hours of singing and kibitzing with the jam-packed audience. The ages were not just those my age, but many younger people who truly appreciate the man and his music.
Anka entered from the back of the audience, greeting his fans with handshakes, high fives and some little hugs and kisses. When he got to the stage ( singing “Diana”) the audience roared its approval and continued to do so for the next two hours plus as he took us through some of his history as performer and collaborator. Many years ago, he write the theme song for Kodak and when they used it in their commercials, they always showed some wonderful family photos and movies. Anka used this theme to show us photos of him in his youth, as he grew in fame and stature, his five daughters and more- this was pure nostalgia and beautiful to watch ( watching his face was just as good as we could see the emotion in his heart as he went down memory lane with us. He also showed a clip of a song that he write for Sammy Davis Jr. showing Sammy doing the song and with a very warm, special feeling, told of his song with the late Michael Jackson ( being just down the road from Jackson’s hometown, Gary, Indiana, made this a very special tribute.
Of course no Anka concert would be complete without his tribute to “Old Blue Eyes” ( Frank Sinatra) and “My Way” as well as “New York, New York”. Anka played the audience in every way possible, even picking up a ringing cell phone ( shame on that lady) and singing to the caller that her friend was a little busy listening to him sing and perhaps next time, instead of staying home, they might buy a ticket and come themselves. He sang this over the phone , then said good-bye and hung up. As Anka moved up the aisle and came to our row, my wife, Jane, ran to the aisle where he embraced her and kissed her on the cheek, she returned the gesture and felt as if one of her fantasies had come to reality. This is pure showmanship and at this he excelled. He was gracious and thankful for the great number of fans that came out to hear him and his musicians rocked!
Coming up at The Venue:
Donny and Marie
Former ladies of The Supremes
Voices of Rock and Radio
and on September 16th, Steve Cole as they do a DVD taping- this show is FREE
to learn more or make reservations call 219-473-6060
you can also go to www.ticketmaster.com
Plenty of free parking and if you don’t drive, no problem- complimentary transportation to and from available at many downtown locations.
The Venue is THE entertainment/Cabaret spot for the greater Chicago area.