Tony Bennett
kd lang

August 4, 2001
Bi-Lo Center
Greenville, SC


kd lang:

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  From the second that kd lang and Tony Bennett walked on stage together dueting on “World On A String,” it was clear that this was to be a special night. After the opening duet, kd delivered a set that sparkled with sophistication and marvelously dry wit. Without betraying a trace of her country music past, she held the audience in place by a thread tied directly to her voice. The massive Greenville arena seemed as intimate as a jazz club as Peggy Lee tunes like “Don’t Smoke In Bed” and “Fever” received recognition from the mostly geriatric crowd. The Canadian chanteuse kept the torch burning through originals like “Still Thrives This Love” and “Constant Craving.” All of the songs were stripped down to a bare minimum. Accompanied only by a stand-up bass, keyboards and drums, she displayed the talents that put her up at the top of the list of great pop vocalists of our time. After a stellar set-closing rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” she even received a standing ovation from the older crowd that had (for the most part) clearly never heard of her before this evening.

kd lang set list (8-4-01)

1. World On A String (w/Tony Bennett)

2. I Am In Love

3. Still Thrives This Love

4. So In Love

5. Too Darn Hot

6. Don't Smoke In Bed

7. Right To Love

8. Fever

9. Constant Craving

10. Crying


Tony Bennett and kd lang:

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It was moving to see so many blue haired ladies helping their husbands to and from their seats. The smiles and exuberance belied their ages. Even more inspiring were the people that made the effort to come out alone. Clearly reliving moments with people who were instrumental in their lives and are no longer here, they reconnected with them through the power of music. Tony Bennett celebrated his 75th birthday the day before this show and he not so symbolically opened with “The Best Is Yet To Come.” Say what one will about these crooners, unless they are experienced in person, their talent is impossible to comprehend. A record does not capture what a performer the stature of Mr. Bennett is capable of pouring on an excited crowd. “Autumn Leaves” was an early favorite. A few songs in, kd returned to the stage for sparkling duets on “Moonglow” and “Keep The Faith” before leaving the stage to the master. He effortlessly breathed one classic after another. “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” “Devil Moon,” “Caravan,” “Mood Indigo,” and “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” all seemed fresh and crystal clear.  His band was stunning, too. Particularly notable was drummer Clayton Cameron who had an unbelievable solo that led Tony to declare that Cameron is “the best drummer since Gene Krupa.” As huge a boast as that may be, it was completely believable. His piano accompanist Ralph Sharon has been Mr. Bennett’s musical partner for 50 years. He may have looked like The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns on that piano stool, but his playing was pristine. “Fly Me To The Moon” was utterly transcendent and seemed impossible to top, and then Tony did. The show closing (and again obviously symbolic) “The Music Never Ends” was simply one of the most amazing vocal performances I’ve ever been lucky enough to see. Early in the show, the crowd spontaneously burst into “Happy Birthday” in honor of his birthday. The singer stood there transfixed and gracious. He smiled from ear to ear, genuinely surprised and moved. Then he said, “I’ve been singing for 50 years. Can you believe it? I hope I have the honor of singing for you for another fifty.” The world should be so lucky.

 Chris McKay/


Tony Bennett:

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Tony Bennett set list (8-4-01):

1. The Best Is Yet To Come

2. Autumn Leaves

3. Piano

4. Moonglow (w/kd lang)

5. I Ain't Down (w/kd lang)

6. Keep The Faith (w/kd lang)

7. Who Could Ask For Anything More?

8. Somewhere Over The Rainbow

9. People

10. When Somebody Breaks Your Heart

11. I Left My Heart In San Francisco

12. Steppin' Out With My Baby

13. Foggy London Town

14. You're All The World To Me

15. Devil Moon

16. They Can't Take That Away From Me

17. Caravan

18. Mood Indigo

19. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

20. Fly Me To The Moon

21. Just A Little Street

22. How Do You Keep The Music Playing?


I chose this show as my #2 favorite show of the year. I never had much respect for "crooners",  but  Tony Bennett flipped me all the way around. His voice was pure, perfect and stunning. At 75 years old, he delivered a relaxed and dynamic set  backed up by absolutely unbelievable musicians. Now I understand. You can't capture what these old timers do on a recording. If you get a chance to hear him live, go and see what I mean. Opener and occasional duet partner k.d. lang almost managed to keep up with Mr. Bennett as their voiced blended together gloriously. This night defined class.