LIVE: ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK November 30, 2019
Todd 'ToddStar' Jolicoeur | 7 December 2019 | 100 Percent Rock
Due to a shift in travel (thanks to a medical episode), I found myself heading to Las Vegas after Thanksgiving. After a quick perusal of shows in Vegas while I was scheduled to be in town, there was one that caught my eye and I immediately reached out to one of my publicist friends and asked for a last minute favor. Within a short time, I was hooked up and added this to my agenda in LV and counted down to the moments I would be photographing the legend Engelbert Humperdinck. As I readied for the show I observed as an excited crowd filled up the Orleans Showroom for the second of three capacity shows. The show started off as the band took their spots and their respective instruments and started up and the crowds anticipation and excitement grew exponentially until Engelbert made his way to the front of the stage and launched into the Cole Porter classic “Begin the Beguine.” The crowd lost their minds and I was in awe from that moment until the last notes of the show played out. You hear stories and know there is something to a performer that has had a career as long as Engelbert has had, but when you see it first hand… it is mind blowing. I continued clicking away as he and his band made their way through “Am I That Easy to Forget” and “My World (Il Mondo)” captivating the audience and taking them through songs from his catalog. While I stepped out to load my gear up and grab a copy of his most recent CD, I missed a song but made my way to my seat to catch one of the most recognizable tracks from his huge discography – “After the Lovin'” and I found myself joining Humperdinck and the rest of the crowd singing along to this phenomenal track. Parts of the show were very storyteller-like, as he introduced various tracks with anecdotes about the track, including the tandem of Dean Martin tracks “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime” and “Quando, Quando, Quando.” Moving from Martins to Mars, he introduced his own version of the Bruno Mars track “Just The Way You Are.” The show is about the music, but you cannot ignore the way Humperdinck uses his music, memories, and a lot of jokes (not just cheesy ones either) to genuinely entertain the audience. Another highlight for me during the show was the introduction of a song written by one of his children about one of the first memories he has with his wife of more than 50 years. As he finished telling the story behind “I’m Glad I Danced With You” and how the recorded version includes his granddaughter Olivia, he proudly proclaimed she was in the venue and she joined him on stage for an amazing performance that will stand out in my mind for a while. He allowed her to take the stage for a solo track after that and then resumed the show with the tour namesake track “Angel on My Shoulder.” As a performer that understands you are only as good each night as the band behind you, he took time during the medley of “I Can’t Stop Loving You / Eye of the Tiger” to allow each member to shine on their respective instruments. He thanked the audience for standing behind him all these years and for all the fan mail and letters of support for his wife (who has been battling Alzheimer’s for over a decade) and dedicated “Love Letters” to each and every one of the audience members. After a couple covers – Toby Keith’s “Don’t Let the Old Man In” and “That’s Life” made famous by Frank Sinatra, Engelbert launched into arguably one of his biggest hit “The Last Waltz” and again, the crowd joined in and we all sang and swayed together in our seats. As the showed wound down, I was caught off guard as seemingly half the audience jumped from their seats and rushed the front of the stage for one of the tracks I was most excited to hear – “Release Me.” The smiles and appreciation flowed from the stage to the audience and back again as we all basked in the amazing performance we had just witnessed. As the final song of the evening as played, I was amazed with the care and love for his fans Engelbert showed. He pointed, smiled, winked, and for the crowd that formed around the front of the venue, he shook every hand that was within his reach. This is a show NOT to be missed if it hits your area when he resumed touring in January 2020. I personally cannot wait for him to land in Detroit in February. Thanks to Rey and AM Management for the amazing opportunity!
Setlist: Begin the Beguine – Am I That Easy to Forget – My World (Il Mondo) – A Man Without Love – After the Lovin’ – Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime – Quando, Quando, Quando – Another Time Another Place – Just The Way You Are – I’m Glad I Danced With You – Angel on My Shoulder – I Can’t Stop Loving You / Eye of the Tiger – Love Letters – Don’t Let the Old Man In – That’s Life – The Last Waltz – This Moment in Time / The Way It Used to Be / Les bicyclettes de Belsize / There Goes My Everything / Spanish Eyes / Love Is All – You – Release Me – How I Love You