At a time when many veteran musicians are hanging up the microphone and putting away the suitcases, 75 year old Tony Orlando is still putting on shows.
After 60 years in the music business, Orlando has seen and done it all. But the one thing he remembers above all else is a piece of advice given to him by entertainer Sammy Davis Jr who said to leave your ego in the dressing room because your job is to entertain the people.
Not only does Orlando follow that advice, he remembers who got him where he is…the fans!
And when Tony Orlando took the stage of the Bear’s Den Showroom at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino for a matinee performance on Mother’s Day May 12, the entire show was a big thank you to the fans, especially the ones who filled the room.
In an opening that left you wondering where can he go from here, Orlando performed the Neil Diamond song “America” as a salute to the troops that included having veterans from each conflict beginning with World War II standing up for a salute from the audience. And when it came time to honour the veterans of Vietnam, he had everyone tell them “welcome home!”. While there were only one or two currently serving present, there was a large number of family members in attendance. The salute concluded with the house going dark for a moment of silence for those who were lost in battle.
Once the lights came back up, Orlando proclaimed that they were going to have fun tonight and began the antics with a performance of “Call Me Al” that included Orlando playing drums on a bar stool and a drumming demonstration…on the stage and everything in reach.
Noting that in his 60 years of entertaining, Orlando said that he has bee all over the world but the Bear’s Den Showroom is a real jewel. Adding that he was 75 but the gathered crowd made him feel like 25.
In the next segment Orlando performed his hit songs “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”, “Candida”, “Knock Three Times”, and “He Don’t Love You” before reminiscing about his youth and his “Rooftop Dreams” – a musical about his life by the same name is set to debut on Broadway next year – and performed a variety of songs beginning with a little Doo Wop from the 50’s.
A veteran of Broadway, Orlando performed songs from the hit musical “Smokin’ Joe’s Cafe”.
The drummer wasn’t the only band member on stage to get the spotlight during the show. One of the three keyboard players on stage was Dave Orlando – Tony’s brother who also got a chance to shine.
The Orlando brothers weren’t the only brother act on the stage – Terry and Tracy – were also featured with Tracy on electric guitar and Terry playing keyboard and acoustic guitar…and impersonations.
Filling out a full two hours the show also included performances of “Walk the Line”, “You are My Sunshine”, “She Thinks I Still Care”, “Fire and Rain”, “purple Rain”, “Bless, Oh My Soul” by Tracy, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, “A Groovy Kind of Love” by songwriter Toni Wine – also a keyboard player, “Sugar, Sugar”, and rollicking Beatles medley.
All throughout the show fans readily joined in to clap, sing, and dance in their chairs for a memorable day and a show not to be forgotten.