REVIEW: ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK AT THE RIVER ROCK SHOW THEATRE
It’s been about a year since we last saw Engelbert Humperdinck. Since his sold out show last year, the legendary pop vocalist has celebrated both his 80th birthday as well as his 50 year anniversary in show business. With a string of dates touted as the “50th Anniversary Tour”, Engelbert stopped back at The River Rock Show Theatre in Richmond for a two night stand, opening Friday night. The 90 minute performance served not only as a marker of what an impressive career Humperdinck has achieved, but also looked ahead with a strong stance, testing out new material on the crowd as well as the old favourite chart toppers and classics.
Opening the show with the Willie Nelson-penned, Patsy Cline version of “Crazy”, Humperdinck strolled out onto the famed River Rock stage, looking dapper as ever in a suit with a pop of red with his signature silk shirt. Within minutes, he began the onslaught of hits he’s performed throughout his lengthy career, beginning with what he called “Ahh, my old famous song”, “Am I That Easy To Forget”.
He paid tribute to the late Ray Price on Price’s “You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me”.
Humperdinck joked how he and Price had exchanged in a friendly competition early in their respective young careers when they released duelling versions of “Release Me”, which ultimately saw Humperdinck eclipsing Price (not to mention blocking out The Beatles at the time) on the top of the charts. When he did get to “Release Me” later in the set, Humperdinck announced “This is the song I’m celebrating tonight,” before joking “Every time I play it, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I have to get it shaved off.”
Although Humperdinck was just here last year, tonight’s show saw a wildly different set list, focusing more on the music than theatrics and too many jokes. Though it was nice to see Engelbert throw out the odd one liner, it was refreshing to see that the showman is still switching up his performance and catalogue for his fans. He did throw in the odd joke (“I don’t drink as a rule, but as a habit”) but focused more on the tunes tonight. He admitted to having some issues with a cough and cold, but the trooper marched on through his show like the seasoned performer he is.
Throughout the set, Humperdinck used his audience as guinea pigs to test drive two wildly different new songs as candidates for an upcoming single. The first was a James Bond-ready, lovelorn ballad declaring “I’d rather live a lie than say goodbye.” It was a refreshing, goosebumps-inducing version of the same Engelbert fans know and love, invoking a slightly darker, cinematic vibe to his oeuvre with a big, brassy sound. Later, the second option “I Followed My Heart” was classic crooner Humperdinck, featuring elements both reminiscent and sentimental. Both tracks explored entirely different sonic flavours, showing that Humperdinck’s voice can find a home in wildly different genres. Perhaps someone in the EDM world needs to collaborate with Humperdinck. Ho could easily team up with Calvin Harris or Major Lazer for the ultimate genre-hopping mashup.
In fact, the 2017 incarnation of Engelbert Humperdinck is ever evolving, acting as both a touchstone to the finer, bygone days of the music industry but also keeping up with the times. One moment he’s pulling a red handkerchief out of his waist to wipe his brow and blowing kisses to his adoring fans, the next moment he’s fist bumping with his guitarist after a killer solo. Half the fun of showing up for Humperdinck’s set is the unpredictability of his show. While so many of his colleagues and contemporaries turn out the same performance night after night, it seems Humperdinck is hellbent on giving his devout crowd new memories. The gals seated beside us told us how this was their fourth time seeing Humperdinck live, and how each time is an entirely new experience.
He even pulled out a cover of The Drifters’ “On Broadway”, highlighted by a fantastic video montage placing Humperdinck’s name on famous New York City show marquees. Somehow, Humperdinck manages to make a real variety of music fit cohesively within his set, ranging from western influences to show tunes.
The variety of performance elements throughout the night also varied. “Girl Of Mine” featured a bouncing-ball, karaoke-style lyric guide on the screen encouraging an audience sing along. “Quando Quando Quando” saw Humeprdinck parading around the stage delivering adorable choreography with his two backup dancers, following a personal story about being friends with Dean Martin and his own early start at the Vegas hotel circuit. During the three-times-platinum “After The Lovin'”, Humperdinck perched himself center stage on a speaker, getting close and intimate with the crowd during the heartfelt ballad.
All the old Humperdinck classics were present through the set, including the romantic “My World”, the easy listening favourite “The Last Waltz”, and a medley of others that were jammed together as if to show that Humperdinck’s hits are too plentiful for one performance. Hearing the string of “Les Bicyclettes de Belsize”, “There Goes My Everything”, and “Spanish Eyes” (among others) all in a row really encapsulated Humperdinck’s tenure and legacy.
Near the end of the show, the ever classy Engelbert Humperdinck proposed a toast to the crowd. “Here’s to you, here’s to me, here’s to friends we should always be.” A touching and sentimental sendoff that acted as the ultimate nightcap.
Happy Valentine's Day - "You're My World"
In honor of Valentine's Day, the King of Romance, Engelbert Humperdinck presents a special intimate performance of the classic ballad "You're My World" alongside Johann Frank (Guitar) & David Arana (Piano).
Engelbert Humperdinck wishes everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day!
The Engelbert Humperdinck concerts in Florida have been postponed due to Engelbert contracting influenza.
The Engelbert Humperdinck concerts in Florida have been postponed due to Engelbert contracting influenza. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to coming to Florida very soon
Engelbert Humperdinck pays tribute to the woman who helped him start his music career
By Tim Healy Posted: October 07, 2016, Leicester Mercury
Engelbert Humperdinck has paid a touching tribute to his eldest sister Olga, who has died.
Olga Keane was the eldest sibling of 10 children born to Engelbert\'s parents Olive and Mervyn and helped him on the first rungs of his music career in Leicester.
She taught him harmony and bought him his first saxophone.
Olga Frances Keane, nee Dorsey, died in a West Sussex nursing home on September 14, aged 96.
Engelbert, who still has a home in Great Glen, has paid a touching tribute to her on Facebook but work commitents in Canada prevent him from attending the funeral which will be held in Loughborough on Wednesday.
He posted: \"For 80 of her 96 years, I was her little brother
\"She taught me harmony, bought me my first sax and was always first backstage and incredibly proud of her family tree and it\'s many branches.
\"She was a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, great grandmother, an amazing aunty and a second mummy to many.\"
He added: \"Our family is heartbroken to lose her but so very grateful for all the many years we had her in our lives .
\"Don\'t look so sad... I know it\'s over.
\"But life goes on and this old world will keep on turning.
\"Let\'s just be glad we had this time to spend together....
\"Please say a prayer and raise a glass for the good times.
\"Love you forever Olga.\"
The service will be held at St Mary\'s Roman Catholic Church in Ashby Road at 11am followed by cremation.
Engelbert\'s daughter Louise Dorsey, who lives in Nashville Tennessee, said: \"She helped her father answer the bags full of fan mail. She was so much to so many.
\"Sadly, all the memories she helped to create were lost to dementia, save the sound of certain voices over the phone or songs.
\"She passed peacefully wearing a blanket her mother had knitted, surrounded by family, songs and holding an Engelbert \"engelbear\".\"
She added: \"Unfortunately dad will be in Canada and will not be able to attend the funeral.
\"I hope to attend and there will be a large gathering at the service.
\"She was the matriarch of the family and very much my Grandpa Dorsey\'s right hand.
\"I used to tour with dad and Olga used to attend and we shared the same room. She was like a big sister to me too.\"
Mrs Keane was the wife of the late Captain Barney St John Keane. They had two daughters Veronica and Jennifer. Mrs Keane was a grandmother and great grandmother.
Tributes have been paid by her other siblings Patricia, Colin, Jacqueline and Charlie.
Family flowers only. Donations can be made payable to Dementia UK c/o Co-operative Funeralcare, 36 East Street, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1HL on 01403 750227.
Read more at http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/engelbert-humperdinck-pays-tribute-to-the-woman-who-helped-him-start-his-music-career/story-29787911-detail/story.html#McMEgitcBedXYrOl.99
Engelbert Humperdinck at 80 still singing, still sexy
Waterloo Region Record
If you survey The Beatles string of English hits, you will discover only one record between 1964 and 1969 that failed to reach No. 1.
At first glance, it may seem odd that "Penny Lane" — a wistful, nostalgia-tinged ode to mid-century Liverpool — failed to top the charts at a time when The Beatles were, as John Lennon proclaimed, more popular than Jesus.
But the Fab Four were no match for a mellifluous love man named Arnold Dorsey, who adapted the name Engelbert Humperdinck from a 19th century German composer and sent hearts atwitter when he re-recorded an old country tune and topped British charts for six weeks.
"Release Me" was that song, the first volley in a 50 year career that brings the performer affectionately referred to as "Enje," "Humpy" and "The Hump" to Centre in the Square as what is arguably the world's first 80-year-old sex symbol since Mae West"
I had the privilege of speaking with the legendary "King of Romance" by phone about his life and career and found him disarmingly modest, charming and full of self-deprecating humour.
Whether or not you're a fan of his emotive, syrupy ballads, it's impossible to dislike the man himself.
Enge, if I may call you that, you're an 80-year-old sex symbol.
I'm not sure that's ever been done before.
I think there's been others ... haven't there been others?
I don't think so. Tom Jones is 76. Elvis didn't make it past 42.
WOW! ... (laughs) ... Listen, I've got a new title!
You have other titles as well. Tell me about "King of Romance."
I didn't give that to myself. It was given to me by the press and kept hot by the fans. I think it's quite a compliment. "King of Romance." "King of Rock and Roll." "King of Pop" ... (laughs) ... There were many kings and I'm glad to be one of them.
Are there disadvantages — like if you're in line at the grocery store and someone butts in and you want to tell him off?
Number one, it's a rarity for me to go shopping. But I do, by the way, go shopping, because I love to cook.
But no, I don't get upset about anything like that. That's childish. I don't tell people "Hey, do you know who I am? Who do you think you are?"
What if telemarketers call your house during dinner and won't take no for an answer?
Or you order room service and the food is lousy? Are you ever tempted to puff out your chest and snap "The King Of Romance does not eat Kraft Dinner!"
I once had a problem when I went over the speed limit at 35 miles an hour and it was supposed to be 30.
I got pulled over by the police and I did happen to say, "Listen, I'm opening in Vegas next week and I'll be happy if you came over with your wife and you can have a free room and weekend there and I do apologize for the mistake I made."
He said "OK, I don't want to come to Vegas, but I'm gonna give you a ticket!" ... (laughs) ... so the name means nothing to some people.
What about your wife — does she call you the King of Romance? Your kids?
It's a show business thing. My family are very proud of my achievements in life and my kids just treat me like Dad and my wife treats me like a husband.
Tell the truth: how mad were The Beatles when you ended their No. 1 streak in Britain? Did Paul threaten to come over and spray paint your garage?
I don't think it even bothered them. They really had all those many, many hits, and their music is just legendary.
"Please release me, let me go'' — not the most upbeat lyric. How did a lovelorn country tune kicking around since 1949 become the signature song of your career?
It's in the Guinness Book of Records. It went to No. 1 around the world and started my life.
It's the song people sing in my face at airports and everywhere I go. When they recognize my sideburns they sing ... (croons in low, gravelly voice) ... 'please release me, let me go.'
It's as fresh today as it was when I recorded it.
I've done all kinds of music — dance music, disco — but ballads are my forte. The romantic scene is my scene. I've stayed with it all these many years.
Is it true guitar legend Jimi Hendrix once opened your show?
It's true. We toured in the U.K. Jimi was getting known and they were trying to promote him, so they put him with 'name' people who could make his talent visible.
What was that like?
Amazing. One day my guitarist didn't show up and Jimi says 'Don't worry man! I'll play for you!' and that was amazing. I had Jimi Hendrix playing my music onstage!
Am I hearing you correctly? Jimi Hendrix, the psychedelic guitar god of the 1960s, played back-up on schmoozy love songs like "Release Me" and "The Last Waltz?"
He did the whole show!
When he opened for The Monkees that same year, he got booed off stage. Monkees fans had no interest in a guy who blasted them with power chords and simulated sex with his guitar. How did your fans react?
"Totally amazing. The people thought he was unusual — an off-the-wall act because he used to burn his guitar and smash his amplifier. But that's was the happening in those days.
So there's you, wooing women with strategic pelvic thrusts and sideburns, and Jimi Hendrix burning guitars as your opening act?
Of course. Yeah. I just wish I had one of his broken guitars now. I would have kept it as a souvenir.
And then, when he was finished burning his guitar, you would come on stage and do "Release Me?"
(Big laugh) Yeah, that's right. It was a different thing for my audience.
Tell me about your relationships with Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and Tom Jones. You guys all came from the same hunky crooner tradition. There must have been some rivalry.
"Dean was probably one of the nicest people I ever met in show business. He took me under his wing. I played one of the hotels he owned. We dined quite a lot. We were good friends.
Tom Jones and I shared the same manager. I think he's a great talent.
He was one of the greatest, most affectionate people I have ever met.
When I first met him, he didn't shake my hand, he embraced me. And I thought "My god, I'm embracing the King of Rock and Roll!" I couldn't believe it. We became friends.
Later on, in a book about his life, they mentioned who he liked in show business and he said he liked Engelbert Humperdinck because I reminded him of the twin brother he lost at birth.''
Did I read somewhere that Elvis stole your sideburns?
"I was the first with the sideburns, so therefore I honestly can tell you that not only did Elvis take them, but so did The Beatles and Glen Campbell and Kenny Rogers ... (pause) ... everybody grew sideburns after The Hump!
So where did The Hump get the idea in the first place?
I did it at the beginning — I was trying to choose an image.
At that particular time my manager (Gordon Mills) said "Shave them off — they look ridiculous!" and I said "No, Gordon, this is part of the image I'm trying to create and people can talk about it."
And of course people did. It started the ball rolling and my sideburns became the Engelbert Humperdinck look ... (laughs) ... people like Bob Hope would say "Engelbert looks as if he's on the phone all the time."
I don't get it.
I had these big black sideburns and looked as if I had a phone up to my ear.
And now it's 50 years later and, other than Tom Jones, you're the last man standing. Seems like a lot of pressure.
I was saddened by the fact that my dear friends are gone. What can I say? I'm just happy I'm still able to share my talent with the world.
I never think about retirement. It doesn't even enter my mind.
Did you ever imagine you would be 80 with women still throwing underwear at you on stage?
I can't believe it ... (laughs) ... it's kind of sparse now. They don't throw it as much as they used to.
At one time I could collect big trunks full of them, but now I think they're saving money.
Thursday (Oct. 6), 8 p.m.
Centre in the Square, Kitchener.
Call 519-578-1570 or go to www.centreinthesquare.com
Engelbert Meets His Biggest Fans
Native Affairs - Engelbert talks Aroha
By Native Affairs 8:30pm, Tuesday 30 August 2016
He headlines as the King of Romance and today crooner Engelbert Humperdinck popped into Māori Television at the start of his nationwide tour. So Native Affairs asked him what's the secret to true love?
For the Good Times! Engelbert Humperdinck at The Great Auditorium
New Jersey Stage By Spotlight Central
It’s August 6, 2016 — just a typical summer evening in the quaint Victorian town of Ocean Grove, NJ. With the long daylight hours, people are still out enjoying the beach, customers are strolling on Main browsing in the various stores, and there’s even a line at the corner ice cream shop.
But just around the corner, as fans pour into the Great Auditorium for tonight’s live performance, it feels as though somehow, this is not going to end up being your typical Saturday evening at the Shore.
As audience members stream down the aisles of this magnificent 122-year old wooden structure, one can see an eclectic mixture of men and women as they turn to get a quick glimpse of the gleaming stage set with its array of stations for rhythm, horn, and percussion players, along with two microphones on stands in the rear, evidently set up for a pair of back-up vocalists.
One thing that is difficult to overlook, however, is the single microphone on a stand, center stage, which has obviously been oh-so-carefully placed for the icon everyone is here to see tonight — the legendary singer, Engelbert Humperdinck.
In the crowd are fans who have come from near and far to see their idol.
For instance, Dave and his wife, Ann, hail from the Shore. Dave is here to support Ann who skipped out on her 40th high school reunion tonight to see this performance. Behind them, is a couple who traveled all the way from Sri Lanka to New Jersey to be able to experience the show.
There are several folks in attendance from England, happy to cheer on one of their fellow countrymen, in addition to so many of the self-proclaimed “Humperdinckers” — the devoted fans who’ve followed Engelbert’s career for nearly 50 years now. According to several in the crowd, one item still on their “bucket list” is to receive one of the famous red handkerchiefs Humperdinck is known for distributing during the course of his live performances.
Lastly, there’s also a fellow named Jim who proudly says that, since the 1990s, he’s seen Mr. Humperdinck perform “over 60 times.” Jim even brought his wife, Holly, to the Great Auditorium from their home outside Philadelphia so they could experience the music of his favorite entertainer together in this unique performance center.
The lights dim and band members take their places as large screens on either side of the stage fill with images taken of Engelbert through the years. The montage of photographs and videos take the crowd on a sentimental journey of highlights of the “King of Romance’s” 49-year career, reminding the audience of so many of Humperdinck’s solid gold hits along with various tidbits of trivia about his incredible life in show business.
And, suddenly, as the video goes dark, the fans rise to their feet cheering and clapping to greet the legend in person as he graces the stage. Opening with Frank Sinatra’s hit, “That’s Life,” the man, the myth, the legend — Engelbert Humperdinck — sings his heart out, backed by a world-class nine-piece band.
The first thing one notices is the man! He’s a very tall guy, and in great shape, too!
And the second thing one notices is the sound! It’s a big sound, and perfectly balanced for this incredible venue which can hold 7000+ music lovers.
The band is swinging with a young sound that’s fresh and alive!
And Humperdinck’s voice sounds incredibly rich… warm… full…
After enthusiastic applause, Humperdinck greets the crowd with a warm “Hello,” and invites the audience to please say “Hello” back to him.
Of course, they happily oblige, after which Humperdinck replies, “See? Now, I feel more relaxed.”
Humperdinck’s friendly banter puts everyone in the Great Auditorium at ease, as he makes a personal connection with his audience, laughing and joking. He even does some impersonations of some of the notable show business colleagues he’s shared the stage with over the years — notably Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis — which light up the entire venue with smiles.
But it is Engelbert’s singing voice and musicianship that completely steal the hearts of everyone in the theater tonight. Whether he is demonstrating the vocal prowess of his three-and-a-half-octave range on such powerhouse hits as 1968’s “A Man Without Love” or just singing along as his crackerjack Swiss guitarist, Johann Frank, accompanies him on 1977’s “After The Lovin’” — Englebert does not disappoint.
Upon experiencing his music live and in person, most listeners in the house tonight probably feel more like they’ve never quite heard the real Engelbert Humperdinck before! His voice is so big and commanding that it simply cannot be fully captured in a recording, putting him in the company of such other incredible live vocalists as Phil Spector’s “He’s a Rebel” diva, Darlene Love, or the one-of-a kind Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
Humperdinck’s command of the stage is also noteworthy as he sings hit after hit along with unique versions of other artists’ songs, notably Boz Scaggs’ “Look What You’ve Done to Me” and Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” much to the delight of his adoring fans. Humperdinck line dances, two-steps, and congas with his back-up singers and shows his versatility singing a wide variety of musical styles as the crowd joyfully sings along on many of his engaging song selections.
Ever the gentleman, Humperdinck introduces and features each of his band members on a show-stopping version of Ray Charles’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” pausing, like a proud papa, to watch each musician solo. Taking their turns in the spotlight are: Jimmy Emerzian on sax, Ron King on trumpet, Melissa Sommers on keyboard, Adam Cohen on bass, Johann Frank on guitar, Ric Roccapriore on drums, Aisha Humphrey and Nancy Buche on background vocals, and musical director, David Arana, on grand piano. After the solos, Humperdinck comes back and blows the roof off the place, communicating with his voice and talent just how much he loves performing with his band, and, beyond that, just how much he loves that this audience appreciates them, too.
Over the course of the evening, the good times continue as Mr. Humperdink and his musicians express their joy playing a captivating set of new songs and classics too, which they fill with new life and energy. For most in attendance, it seems truly difficult to comprehend that many of the tunes they are hearing are nearly 50 years old or, for that matter, that Mr. Humperdinck, himself, is 80 years of age!
Highlights include Humperdinck’s 1979 #1 Easy Listening hit, “This Moment in Time,” his US Top 40 hit, “Bicyclettes de Belsize,” and his perennial 60s-era audience favorite, “Spanish Eyes,” perfectly accompanied on the bottom by expert electric bassist, Adam Cohen.
Other numbers which Humperdinck performs include “Save the Last Dance for Me” and a song from his recent “duet” album, Engelbert Calling — which features such singers as Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, and Kiss’ Gene Simmons — “There’s Something About the Way You Look Tonight,” with Engelbert singing live with a pre-recorded vocal track done by Sir Elton John.
Lifting the audience to its feet, however, is Humperdinck’s majestic performance of Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a gem which he says is one his late friend, Elvis Presley, liked to perform in concert and one which Engelbert is now eager to include in his shows as well.
Rapidly approaching the end of a magical evening, Humperdinck sings his #1 UK million seller, “The Last Waltz,” the audience wishing that — like the song says — this concert could “last forever,” and 1968’s #1 Easy Listening hit, “Am I That Easy to Forget?,” surely prompting some in the audience to reply, “No! You’re unforgettable!”
Finally, Mr Humperdinck introduces a song which everyone in the Great Auditorium has been patiently waiting for this evening — his enormous 1967 hit which had the distinction in the United Kingdom of preventing The Beatles brilliant “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields Forever” single from reaching #1 and which also became one of the biggest selling singles of all time, “Release Me.”
Exclaims Humperdinck, “I can’t believe this song is 49 years old!,” going on to add, “and, next year, we’ll have a special tour celebrating its 50th anniversary!,” to which the audience mightily applauds.
As Humperdinck sings this classic tune, the crowd joyfully joins in. And when the song modulates up into a new key, the crowd cheers as many begin to rush the stage.
Following the conclusion of the number — audience members on their feet — Engelbert looks out over the crowd, looking both truly humbled and surprised at the incredible reaction he’s getting from his enthusiastic throng of fans.
“Applause is the food of the artist,” he says. “Thank you for not starving me tonight.”
And, in appreciation for their efforts, Humperdinck reciprocates with one last song: “For The Good Times.”
Audience members, hands held high, sway together and sing along as Engelbert sits at the edge of the stage and vocalizes, not only with his gorgeous deep baritone filling up the Great Auditorium, but with his spirit filling up his devoted fans’ hearts.
As the audience continues to stand and clap, Engelbert smiles as he exits the stage and, with a twinkle in his eye, simply says, “I’ve had a good time.”
Although the musical portion of the evening has now concluded, Engelbert surprises everyone and makes his way back onto the stage to throw several of his famous red handkerchiefs to the multitude of fans gathered at the front of the theater.
One excited devotee hands him a pile of “Jersey Shore” T-shirts, which he gratefully accepts, and in exchange, he personally hands her a red handkerchief.
Ever the showman, he then dons a red terry robe, returning as the champ he truly is, air-boxing and throwing one last handkerchief into the crowd before waving “goodnight,” his hands and fingers flashing double “peace signs” — or, maybe, perhaps, “victory” signs?
Exiting into the sweet summer night, audience members can be overheard commenting to one another, revealing things like, “I can’t believe I remembered the words to every song,” “The lyrics take on a new meaning for me now that I’m older and more experienced at life,” and “I just love hearing these great melodies.”
Others make statements like, “Englebert sounds amazing; what a powerhouse! Did you see how far away he held that mike?,” and “I haven’t heard or sung these songs in years, but it was great!”
And what about Jim, our 60-show Engelbert Humperdinck veteran, who along with his wife, Holly, came to spend an evening listening to his favorite octogenarian performer?
“He’s never sounded better,” asserts Jim, while Holly agrees, exclaiming, “Just an incredible show!”
Also chiming in together, “This venue is great…” “… and the sound is great in here, too,” Jim nicely sums things up for many in the house this evening when he declares, “This show makes me want to come back and see the same concert tomorrow.”
And why, might he want do that, you ask?
Of course, as Jim — or A anyone else in the audience at this extraordinary August 6, 2016, Engelbert Humperdinck concert — could tell you:
“For the Good Times!”
For information on Engelbert Humperdinck’s upcoming world tour dates please go to engelbert.com. For more on upcoming concerts at Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium — including Michael Bolton on Aug. 13; The Orchestra, featuring former members of ELO, on Aug. 20; and the Doo Wop Extravaganza starring The Duprees, Shirley Alston Reeves, The Belmonts, and The Toys on Sept. 3 — please go to oceangrove.org.
At 80, Engelbert Humperdinck's keeping it fresh
Ilana Keller, @ilanakeller 6:14 p.m. EDT July 29, 2016, Ashbury Park Press
Englebert Humperdinck has been driving audiences wild around the globe for a half-century.
But don't think that means he's settled into a groove.
At 80, the legendary performer still is pushing the envelope, evolving his own music, touring the world and keeping things fresh.
"If you don’t learn and you don’t change, you get stagnated and become stale," he said in a phone interview from California. "I think my style has become more modern. I think I’m singing better than I’ve ever done. My voice hasn’t lost its power — three-and-a-half octave range, I haven’t lost it. I don’t eat the microphone."
"I’m so thrilled now because social media is playing a big part in show business," he said. "Audiences put little bits and pieces on social media, people get to know you before you get there. It’s strange, but it’s brought a new dimension to our lives."
Humperdinck catapulted onto the music scene in the 1960s with his smash hit single “Release Me,” which set a Guinness world record with 56 consecutive weeks on the charts. The tune climbed to the top spot in 11 countries — becoming the song that "stopped the Beatles from having their 13th No. 1," he pointed out. He since has sold more than 140 million records, including 64 gold albums and 35 platinum ones and collected four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe and stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Las Vegas Walk of Fame and Leicester Walk of Fame. He has performed for millions of fans spanning the globe.
In between recent trips to Egypt, Manila and Singapore and an upcoming New Zealand swing, Humperdinck has two New Jersey shows on tap.
Humperdinck promises a lineup chock-full of his biggest hits, including "After the Lovin' " and "There Goes My Everything," as well as material from his most recent albums and maybe a cover or two.
"I like to see what people think of my version of someone else’s song — challenge myself in that respect," he said.
With the 50th anniversary of "Release Me" approaching, 2017 promises to be a huge year. Humperdinck has a full calendar of celebrations planned, including extensive global touring.
"It’s wonderful to be able to go to all of these different countries and know that they know your music, all due to one record that started it all," he said.
Engelbert Humperdinck He's Still Got It
By Stephen Lavoie, July 24, 2016
Growing up in a middle income suburb, my siblings and I had everything growing kids would need. Like so many households in America, the front living room of your house was off limits for children, that’s where our parents kept the good stuff. Only allowed to enter for special events or if we had some special guests, there was no TV or video game consoles in this room. It was where the best looking furniture resided, forgo the plastic covering, thank goodness, along with some fancy looking glass sculptures, a curio cabinet with an extensive collection of owls of all shapes and sizes, a golden plush carpet, a bookcase adorned with images of butterflies, (we were allowed to enter to access the Enclyopedia set of course), family pictures and delicate heirlooms placed lovingly on the side tables. But what caught my eye, or ear, was this new technology recently added to the room. A quadraphonic sound system which utilised 8-track tapes, the equivalent of todays surround sound but back in the 70’s it was revolutionary for a in-home stereo. And when we had the chance to listen to it, it was something special although quite finiky as far as functionality, the record player was much more reliable. I listened to much of my parents music collection, and there were a batch of artist that I enjoyed also, Harry Neilson, Seal and Crofts, Edgar Winter, the Beatles. And this is where I first heard Engelbert, perhaps not my favourite out of my parents collection, but he was right up there. There weren’t many artist in that era with such a gracious sound, Tom Jones comes to mind or the modern day equivalent may be something of a Michael Bublé.
So went into this one, excited to photograph a living legend, still performing with a vocal prowess that very few performers will ever possess at any age. Unbelievable really, for a man at 80 years old, he knocked it out of the park with his trademark style, a solid mix of video presentations, and a highly skilled backing band.
The setlist was just hit after hit and he had the fans eating out of his hand, it’s always a pleasure to witness such a consummate performer, he made it look easy, with is the sure sign of a pro. A special treat for the almost sold out crowd at Araneta Coliseum, and about midway through a lucky fan was even invited up onstage for a selfie with the band, a silk scarf and a kiss form the man himself.
Towards the end of the concert, when he came close to the edge of the stage, one fan made her way over to shake his hand, soon after that, the flood gates opened and many folks were rushing down front. As security did their jobs and started to get people back in their sets, Engelbert got the attention of the lead security and gestured, let them stay where they are. He even signed an album, posed for selfies, threw silk scarves into the crowd, and shook hands with everyone he could reach, gracious indeed.
An impressive concert indeed, felt fortunate to photograph this one!
Next time, I’m bringing an 8-track tape to ask him to sign.
Here’s a few more images from the show…