The Sinatra Project

Dates and Venue 21 October 2009, 8pm | Orpheum Theatre

Conductor & Arranger Bill Elliott, Featured performer Michael Feinstein - vocals

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This special concert, based on Michael Feinstein’s latest album The Sinatra Project, is a tribute to "The Voice", focusing on songs written for him that were never recorded during his years at Capitol Records. It also includes pop classics such as Fools Rush In and I’ve Got a Crush on You plus many more. More than a mere performer, 53-year old Feinstein is also a music historian and curator and recognized for his commitment to the American popular song.

The concert itself wasn't too bad. I was a bit annoyed in the first half because I was sitting close to the speakers, and whenever Feinstein would come out bellowing his songs, especially the jazzy ones, the sound from the speakers came out so loud that I had to cover my right ear. So I decided to sit at the back during the second half and it was much better.

I didn't so much like the style of Feinstein's crooning. He tried to combine different styles--sometimes he'd come out with a Johnny Mathis style of a falsetto, and other times, he sounded like Tony Bennet, or Sammy Davis. He's like Michael Buble, picking up bits and pieces of different singers. He even made a joke about Buble by saying :"Check my website,, and you'll see thousands of hits".

Although I would have wanted to hear the more popular classics, such as Fools Rush In which was mentioned in the programme notes, or My Way, he didn't sing them because, as mentioned earlier, he was promoting his CD which comprised the more obscure songs of Sinatra. Perhaps next time around, he should come out with the more popular hits of Sinatra, and he'd probably sell more CDs.

These days, the fad is impersonation. Naturally, he can't impersonate Sinatra because he's not Italian, and doesn't look like him. Someone in the audience shouted a Yiddish phrase at him, towards the end of the performance, and he joked back saying "I'm Italian". Maybe he really doesn't speak Yiddish. But I could tell there was quite a number of Jewish-Canadian seniors in the audience.

The concert's repertoire included a lot of Sinatra hits-- Luck Be The Lady, I Thought About You, Time After Time, Just One Of Those Things, The Lady Is A Tramp. I've Got A Crush On You, All My Tomorrows, All The Way, Begin The Beguine, For Once In My Life, and an encore number, New York, New York., where he started off with "Vancouver, Vancouver" and later on went on to sing the original lyrics.

Two things I enjoyed most in the show: his piano playing, and his jokes/anecdotes about Sinatra. Sometimes he played the piano as he sang, but there was only one instance where he didn't sing, but played his rendition of that popular piece, Brazil. And he was good.

It was an entertaining two hours. I was just about to leave after his last song, For Once In My Life, but then the audience wanted more, and he sang the encore number, New York, New York. .

© 2009 Ed Farolan