Engelbert Humperdinck arrives for Big Dome concert
By: Pocholo Concepcion, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 8th, 2016
POP singer Engelbert Humperdinck arrived this evening at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for his scheduled concert on Sunday, July 10, at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Humperdinck, whose real name is Arnold George Dorsey, has performed in Manila for a number of times in the last few years. He has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, and is regarded as one of the finest balladeers in the music scene.
He started as a saxophone player who played in clubs in the 1950s until he tried singing when friends persuaded him to join a pub contest.
He struggled to make a name for himself until the mid-’60s when he was offered to record three songs including “Spanish Eyes.”
In 1967, his version of “Release Me” went No. 1 in Britain and spent 56 weeks in the Top 50 chart.
In the ’70s he became a regular performer in Las Vegas; by 1976 he had another hit single, “After the Lovin,’” whose album of the same name likewise achieved commercial success.
Humperdinck has kept his career alive at present by touring regularly and recording more albums.
Engelbert Humperdinck performs July 10 at Smart Araneta Coliseum; tel. 911-5555; visit ticketnet.com.ph
A special message for the victorious Leicester City Football Club!
Famous fans wish Engelbert a happy 80th
By Tom_Mack | Posted: May 01, 2016, Leicester Mercury
Engelbert Humperdinck celebrates his 80th birthday on Monday and he has received best wishes of his famous fans.
A Facebook film put together by his record label features the likes of Gloria Gaynor and Neil Sedaka singing and saying 'happy birthday' to the star, who lives in Great Glen.
In the video Grease star Olivia Newton John said: "Happy birthday to the best-looking 80 year old I've ever seen in my life.
"Have a wonderful night."
While several messages include promises to sing duets in the future, country legend Kenny Rogers was not up for it.
He joked: "I'm so happy for you. I will not sing another duet with you because you out-sung me on my song and that's not fair."
American broadcaster Larry King said: "I have ties older than you, Englebert, you're a kid.
"Have a very happy birthday. Don't sign a 20-year mortgage."
The video also features a message from Leicester's own Sam Bailey.
She tells Engelbert: "You're only as young as you feel so just go and feel somebody who's about 25 and you'll be alright."
Speaking about his birthday, the singer said he was enjoying the perfect work-life balance.
He said: "I love touring and meeting people around the world, but I also relish my quiet time at home with my wife, Patricia. I really have the best of both worlds."
Despite being well past retirement age, Engelbert, who was born Arnold George Dorsey in India in 1936, is preparing to head off on a tour of the US, Egypt and Southeast Asia.
He is also planning big things for next year, which will see the 50th anniversary of his biggest hit, Release Me.
Enge, as friends call him, attributes his stamina and longevity in the business to good family genes, a passion for the road and his music, as well as his marriage.
Engelbert and Patricia celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary last week. The "King of Romance" had to leave his hotel in Canada at 4am in order to fly home for the celebration.
Engelbert's Interview with Larry King
Engelbert’s interview with Larry King on “Larry King Now” will air on his birthday, May 2nd at 2 PM EST on Oratv.com
You can also watch it on hulu or on the RT channel. Links:
On the West Coast -
RT Channel: pending
Dish Network: channel 280
Verizon Fios: channel 455
DirecTV: channel 2148
Verify your local listings for other time zones
and be sure to share with Engelbert your thoughts on the interview!
Happy 80th Birthday Engelbert Humperdinck!
A very happy 80th birthday greeting to Engelbert Humperdinck starring Olivia Newton-John, Micky Dolenz, Neil Sedaka, Kenny Rogers, BJ Thomas, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Jack Jones, Petula Clark, Larry King, Tony Orlando, Gloria Gaynor, Alan Thicke, Pat Boone, Sam Bailey, Ron Sexsmith, Nigel Lythgoe, Tommy Roe, Robin Leach, Doug Sanders, Mauricio Herrera, Marilyn Michaels, and all of us here at OK!Good Records.
Bethel Park woman's fandom leads to special meeting with Humperdinck
BY CHRIS TOGNERI , TribLive, April 16, 2016
The man once known as Gerry Dorsey is dressed in black.
The only splashes of color come from the sparkling silver of diamond rings on his left hand — the one he uses to hold the microphone — and his signature red handkerchief, tucked neatly in his lapel pocket.
He takes the stage and sings:
“Love me with all of your heart, or not at all.”
Four rows and 20 feet away, a smiling lady does. She doesn't remember exactly when she fell in love with Engelbert Humperdinck, only that he has been the soundtrack of most of her adult life.
“He puts on, always, a great show,” says Dorothy Clemens, 87, of Bethel Park. “And it's not always the same show. He changes it up.”
On the stage before her, Wednesday night at Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead in Munhall, Humperdinck, 79, is blowing kisses to the crowd. The audience, mostly middle-aged to elderly women, cheers wildly.
This is the second time in a week Dorothy has seen him perform. The first was April 9, her birthday, in Atlantic City. She doesn't know how many of his concerts she has seen — at least 30, she says. She and her daughter, Carol Bykowski, travel at least once a year to see him.
It's not easy. She has to schedule her dialysis around the shows. But it's worth it, Dorothy says.
“He has a great voice,” Dorothy says. “Oh, he's always good.”
Tonight, Humperdinck is definitely on his game.
Accustomed to larger venues, he welcomes his audience to “my living room.” He jokes about Pittsburgh's seasons: “Winter, spring, winter, and under construction.”
The crowd eats up every word, as does Dorothy. She beams at the legend onstage. And she eyes that elusive red handkerchief still tucked into his lapel pocket.
It's a coveted object. At the end of every show, Humperdinck tosses red handkerchiefs into the crowd. Not many — but enough to let them know they have a chance.
“As many times as I've gone to his shows,” Dorothy says, “I'm dying to get one.” She motions to her daughter: “In Ohio, she almost got one. Then, this tall man grabbed it. What was he even doing there? … These women are like cattle. They rush to the stage! You take your life into your hands.”
If she ever gets one, Dorothy says: “I'll hold it in my hands when I'm lying in my coffin.”
Humperdinck removes his coat. He unbuttons the top of his shirt. He holds the red handkerchief to his forehead, then seductively tucks it into his waistband.
Again — the crowd goes wild.
To the outsider, the scene might appear absurd:
An aging crooner with a ridiculous stage name is prancing before screaming elderly women, many of whom hold up cellphones and repeatedly violate the posted concert rules of “no photos, video or flashes.”
What the outsider doesn't see are the memories, long dormant, suddenly rekindled. These aren't old ladies swooning to the antics of an over-the-top performer. They are girls listening with their mothers to vinyl records, scratched from overuse, in a long-ago living room — teens fantasizing over their first crush.
And the man called Engelbert Humperdinck summons those memories. He is not a relic. In this old theater in a faded rustbelt town, he is their fountain of youth.
“On Sundays, when I was little girl, she'd always put his music on,” Carol says of her mom. “She has a CD of his, and she plays it constantly. For Mom, it's about remembering the past, remembering when she was younger.”
Dorothy is not so young these days. Twenty years ago, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer; later, diabetes, which ruined her one good kidney. She has been on dialysis for 10 years, and doctors recently found blood clots in her heart and lungs that cannot be treated. Her cardiologist recently told Dorothy that she will likely have a stroke and die.
The news upset Dorothy. Not that she would someday die — “I've lived 87 years, and if I live to 90, I figure that's a good, long life,” she says. It's the knowing how that bothers her. Had the doctor said nothing, she told Carol, she wouldn't have to worry about it.
It is 9:30 p.m. when the show ends.
Suddenly, women rush the stage. They all know what's next.
Humperdinck tosses the red handkerchiefs into a sea of outstretched arms. One soars through the air, and two women leap. The woman who catches it is knocked to the floor by the woman who does not. The loser apologizes, then returns her attention to the man on the stage.
But the red handkerchiefs are gone. Once again, Dorothy misses out.
Half an hour later, the theater is nearly empty. Dorothy and Carol sit near a side exit, waiting for traffic outside to ease.
Dorothy is getting tired. She pulls her daughter's coat over her shoulders.
Then, 15 feet away, a door leading backstage swings open.
And the man once known as Gerry Dorsey steps through it.
Dorothy's jaw drops. She is a little girl again.
“Hello, sweetheart,” he says.
She tries to stand. He insists she sit. He pulls up a chair and settles in, because this isn't an impersonal, 30-second meet-and-greet. Engelbert Humperdinck wants to talk to Dorothy Clemens, the woman who has followed him to Florida, Nevada, Ohio, West Virginia and New Jersey.
She tells him that she saw him in Atlantic City four days before.
“I'm flattered,” Humperdinck says. “Happy belated birthday, my darling.”
He holds her hand and they talk like old friends reunited. He speaks of his 8-year-old granddaughter and her beautiful singing voice. She introduces him to her faithful daughter.
They talk about old age. “What's the problem?” Humperdinck says. “You can't avoid it. And you're lucky to get there. A lot of people don't.”
He describes to her the thrill of performing, as strong as ever, how he is “reborn” the moment he grabs the mic.
She doesn't need to tell him how she feels when he sings.
He kisses her. Then, he leaves.
Now, it's late. Time to go home.
Mother and daughter walk slowly to their car. As they drive down Eighth Avenue toward the Homestead Grays Bridge, Dorothy turns to Carol.
“I can't believe I actually met Engelbert,” she says. “I can't wait to tell the nurses at dialysis tomorrow.”
Engelbert Humperdinck still loves life on the road
BY DARRYL STERDAN, POSTMEDIA NETWORK
FIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2016 08:00 AM CDT, Winnipeg Sun
Engelbert Humperdinck has heard them all.
“I’ve been called Pumpernickel, The Hump, The Dinck,” recalls the 79-year-old crooner with a laugh. “People have definitely made fun of the name. But I don’t mind. I’ve had a lot of fun being Engelbert Humperdinck.”
And even greater success. Since struggling British singer Arnold Dorsey improbably adopted the name of a 19th-century German composer back in 1966, he’s sold more than 150 million albums and topped charts with singles like Release Me (and Let Me Love Again), The Last Waltz and After the Lovin’. And he shows no signs of slowing down as he enters his 80s: Humperdinck has a brand-new country covers album called Runaway Country for sale on his website, a documentary movie in the works and a busy touring schedule that brings him to Toronto on April 15. But the L.A. resident still made time to chat about being a Gene Simmons lookalike, meeting a young Bruno Mars and forgetting the words to Release Me.
Congratulations on your upcoming 80th birthday.
Oh my God. Not yet, not yet. It’s not happened yet. But thanks — you know, it’s better than the alternative.
If somebody told you 50 years ago you’d be doing this at 80, how would you have reacted?
I don’t know. But I never thought I would be going strong at this particular age. But I’m very happy to be doing it, honestly. I love my job. I love what I’m doing. I’m travelling around the world. I still do 90 concerts a year.
Your voice has held up, unlike a lot of your contemporaries. What’s the secret?
Honestly, it’s just luck of the draw that it’s happened this way. Normally the vibrato slows up and the voice drops, but mine hasn’t. Mine has stayed. As a matter of fact, I think I’m singing better than ever. I still get up there. I still have a three-octave range.
You did the duets album Engelbert Calling in 2014 with some unexpected partners. Like Gene Simmons from KISS. How did that happen?
The reason we did that was because my daughter always said, ‘Dad, you have an amazing resemblance to Gene Simmons. You look alike.’ We even took a picture and cut it in half right down the middle of the nose, and there is a tremendous resemblance. So I thought it would be fun to do a song with him. And he was absolutely fantastic.
Are there other contemporary artists you’d like to work with? Do you keep up on today’s music?
I do listen to stuff that is happening in today’s market. I have done an Ed Sheeran song in my show. I would love to rub shoulders with someone like Bruno Mars. Here’s a funny story: When he was about four or five years old, he was the entertainment at a fan club party I had in Hawaii. He was dressed up in an Elvis suit and entertained everyone. I had pictures taken with him. So it would be nice to meet up with him again.
What should we expect from your live show?
Of course, I do my standards, the things that made it possible for me to be where I am. But I also do songs from Engelbert Calling. I do songs from Runaway Country. And then I do some songs that don’t belong to me — things that people would not expect me to sing. So I show the audience that I can sing other people’s material and give it my own stamp.
Do you ever get up there and completely forget the words to Release Me?
Sometimes. So I just make it up as I go along. Everybody seems to enjoy it.
Engelbert Humperdinck Las Vegas Sun Interview
Engelbert Humperdinck: ‘I’m still bloody nervous when I walk onstage’
By Robin Leach, Las Vegas Sun
Tue, Mar 15, 2016 (2 a.m.)
Arnold George Dorsey started out as a sax player, but he won a pub contest by singing — and closed his act with a dead-on impression of entertainment legend and Las Vegas resident Jerry Lewis.
His name immediately became Gerry Dorsey. It was to be short-lived as National Service called for military duty, followed by a serious battle with tuberculosis that KO’d his return to show business for six months.
He was part of the Gordon Mills management stable of pop stars, including non-rival Tom Jones and the eccentric Gilbert O’Sullivan. Gordon suggested the unusual and unique Engelbert Humperdinck moniker of the “Hansel & Gretel” Austrian composer. Notice all names of historical characters!
The still-handsome British singer, 79, is celebrating a stunning, nearly 50-year musical career with million-selling hits “Release Me,” “Spanish Eyes,” “The Last Waltz” and “After the Lovin.’ ”
He’s one of a few singers who has achieved two 1 million-selling hits in the same chart year. All told, he’s sold nearly 200 million records worldwide, with “Release Me” selling at one point more than 100,000 copies a day.
Engelbert returns to Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Symphony Park on Saturday, the day after Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” benefit production.
I chatted with him at length at his Beverly Hills, Calif., home, once owned by legendary actress Jayne Mansfield, before I left for Cabo San Lucas.
So you’re coming back to Las Vegas.
Yes, I am. I’m coming back, my third time at the Smith Center. I love that building. The acoustics are probably the best over there because they made it so that the audience and the artists have great sound. I think it’s great.
It may seem a funny question, but I’m serious. From a singer’s viewpoint, what does music add to romance? What does romance add to music?
I think music adds to romance because it creates the emotions. It creates feelings, which create romance. That’s what lyrics and good music are all about. That’s what I’ve been involved with all my life, and that’s one of the reasons why they deemed me “The King of Romance,” which was not my naming, but the press called me that.
It’s all to do with what music does to people. Music does stimulate them and lets them understand their emotions and creates different feelings you trust — like emotions of sadness and happiness.
You know you dance to music; therefore, it creates that emotion. You fall in love through music, you dance and get closeness. Everything happens through music.
Has that manifested itself in your performances? Have you ever seen anybody propose during a performance of yours? Have you ever seen anybody get down on one knee?
Yes. As recently as last year in one of my shows, somebody proposed during my show. People tend to do things with my music. For instance, “After the Lovin’ ” has been responsible for a lot of weddings and engagements.
Music is responsible for a lot of happenings as far as romance. It makes me feel good because it happens to be my music that’s caused it. I feel great about that.
Do you enjoy being “inside the box” of romance?
Yes, I do. I think it was a well-chosen path to take. When I first started, Robin, in the business, I was a rock-and-roll singer. I had to make a choice in the type of music I wanted to sing, and the choice was romantic music.
I was in a stable at the time with Gilbert O’Sullivan and Tom Jones, and we all had choices to make. Tom went the rock-and-roll way, I went the romantic way, and Gilbert had this funky type of method of singing. We made up that stable, and I guess that’s what made us successful.
What was that very first love song that persuaded you to stay in that area?
The first one, of course, was “Release Me,” and, ironically, it’s not even a love song because it’s very negative: “Please release me, let me go.” But it seemed to cause a lot of people to get together for some reason. It had a certain effect on people’s romantic ways.
That goes back to the emotional question that I asked about what music triggers.
I can’t believe it because it has a negative way of saying, “Let me go. I found somebody new.” It was so popular, it stopped The Beatles from having their 30th No. 1 in the Guinness Book of Records.
It was the largest number of records I’ve ever sold in my life. It was something like 80,000 a day, and it reached actually 127,000 records a day, which was completely unheard of in the industry.
That must have amazed you.
Yes, because I used to call every day and ask how many did we do? How many did we do today? You could do that in that era, but today you can’t.
How many miles are you still trekking a year?
Until about five years ago, I was doing about 140 concerts a year, and now I’m down to about 80 or 90. I think that’s about it. This time I’m doing a lot of work around the world.
I rather like it actually because I get to spend time in places that I’ve gone in and out very quickly. I’ve gotten to see the countries and go around it and experience their culture and things a little bit more.
Do you still love it?
I do love it. I swear to God until this day I love what I do. Walking onstage is the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life, and it still is until this very day. But I’m still bloody nervous when I walk onstage.
I swear! Before I walk onstage, my hands are cold, my feet are cold, and I’m stomping my feet backstage. It’s just so unusual to see somebody who’s been in the business 49 years feel nervous before I walk onstage. My warm-up back stage, nobody can hear it. I keep the microphone away from me because it’s live.
I’m really belting out with the overture, and I’m singing loud notes with it to warm up my vocal chords. I’m really singing loud to make sure I can hit all the notes when I walk onstage. It’s an unusual feeling. What I say to the people is my legs shake so badly I might have to lay down and do the show, and I mean it.
Fifty years on, how does it feel to still be a heartthrob? Does that amaze you?
Yes, it does. I mean have you read some of the write-ups I’ve been in recently? Isn’t it something?
I understand it, but I guess it’s still extraordinary just by the numbers. I remember the last time you were here at the Smith Center, it was dazzling, and I remember the folks rushing the stage like you were Harry Styles from One Direction!
Yeah, it was very good, thank you; thank you. I’m very pleased the way things are going. I still try to keep on top of the business by keeping fresh and always on top changing my show here and there and everywhere. I still keep the standards that people come to hear.
For instance, I notice when I watch major acts like Paul McCartney, when he goes out and tries new songs, it doesn’t go down as big as when he starts singing all the songs that they did in the past.
I think you still have to maintain and let the people hear what made it possible for you to be there in the first place, so I keep that as my main target for my audience.
So what does Engelbert Humperdinck put on the record player at home? Not Engelbert Humperdinck?
I sometimes put it on when I’m looking for material and I think, “What can I do to change my show a little bit?” So I listen to my music. Of course it takes a tremendous amount of listening.
I keep saying I could sing that song better today, and you’re criticizing yourself as you go along, and yet in that era it was great because it sold millions of records.
Yes, but please don’t ever do a hip-hop version of “Release Me.”
No, no, I don’t think I could change that. It’s so stamped in its style, I don’t think I could ever try to make an updated version of it, no. … If it’s not broken, don’t change it.
I agree. Do you have a favorite song out of all of them, or a favorite three?
I think the three are “Release Me,” After the Lovin,’ ” and I have to say I do love “Am I That Easy to Forget?” The ones that really got me around the world are songs like “The Last Waltz” that was played in ever dance hall around the world. I think that established me in a major way around the world, and every karaoke machine in the world still carries that song.
It’s been a remarkable journey since I knew you back in the 1960s, then when we filmed you for “Entertainment Tonight” and “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.”
It has indeed, and I hope it never ends. I’ve got a couple of albums I’ve got to tell you about. The duet album, of course, took two years to bring out, but I got to work with some legendary people, which was just wonderful. Actually, my assistant bumped into Johnny Mathis the other day, and Johnny says, “How is he doing? We should get together sometime.”
Johnny Mathis has been one of my favorite, favorite voices in my life. To sing a duet with him was like a dream come true for me. It would be like singing a duet with Nat King Cole. Of course being on the same album with Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers … and Gene Simmons was a delight in the studio, I want to tell you that.
And the newest album?
“Runaway Country.” Yeah, I did that and did a song called “Runaway” on it to keep it fresh. They’re all country songs, and they’re all great performances. There’s a great song in there called “Love Look What You’ve Done to Me.” It’s a wonderful song, which I perform in the show, and it gets major reaction from the audience.
Where are you before you come to Las Vegas, and where do you go afterward?
I’m in Sacramento just prior to Las Vegas, and afterward we go to Atlantic City, Massachusetts, Toronto. … I’m still roaming.
The summer lies ahead. What else do you have on your plate?
I started a documentary a couple of years ago. It’s not quite finished yet, but, when that comes out, I will let you know. It’s got some footage on it that’s never been seen before, so it will be quite unusual when it’s finished. It’s getting close to the end of it now.
But I’ll go on singing and touring. I can’t and won’t stop!
Engelbert Humperdinck performs Saturday night at 7:30 in Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Symphony Park.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
A SINGER BY ANY OTHER NAME
Arnold George Dorsey is more generally known by his internationally-recognized moniker: Engelbert Humperdinck. But, to paraphrase Shakespeare, a singer by any other name would sing as sweet.
Humperdinck, who will be performing in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center on March 19th, was not Dorsey’s first name change. His initial name change was to his first name. The Leicester, England lad had taken up playing the saxophone and was challenged by friends to put his instrument aside and sing in a pub contest. He ended up doing such a successful impression of another recent Smith Center performer – Jerry Lewis – that he was immediately labeled as Gerry Dorsey.
Now, that’s fine as names go, but while touring in England, Dorsey had to contend with a serious bout of tuberculosis and was off the stage for six months. When he recovered, it was time for a new image to showcase his health and vitality, so it was time for the next (and final) name change. His manager suggested Engelbert Humperdinck, from the 19th century Austrian composer who wrote "Hansel & Gretel." Not a common name, but one that would grow in popularity as the singer rose to global fame.
That fame endures as Humperdinck’s hits endure, including “(Please) Release Me,” “After The Lovin',” “Spanish Eyes,” “The Last Waltz,” “Am I That Easy To Forget,” “There Goes My Everything,” “Les Bicyclettes de Belsize,” “Winter World Of Love,” “This Moment In Time,” “Can't Take My Eyes Off You” and “Quando, Quando, Quando.”
It’s a funny thing about names. Famous singers are sometimes known by their first names - Madonna, Dion, Cher - but this performer proves that talent is the key to success, whether the name is Arnold George Dorsey, Gerry Dorsey, or Engelbert Humperdink.
Engelbert Humperdinck performs March 19th in Reynolds Hall. Click here to purchase tickets or call 702.749.2000.
REVIEW: ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK AT THE RIVER ROCK SHOW THEATRE
It’s hard to believe someone has endured a career of almost 50 years with the made up name Engelbert Humperdinck, but it’s true. Such a legacy only comes with good reason, of course. At 79, the English crooner delivered a knockout two hour set at Richmond’s famed River Rock Show Theatre, delivering a set featuring old favourites, classic covers, and a hell of a lot of entertainment wrapped up in comedic morsels.
What came as the biggest surprise of the evening was how much of a jokester Humperdinck is, turning out one-liners in between almost every song. Even more, pretty much everyone and everything was fair game in his line of target, finding fodder anywhere from The Kardashians (“These people have got hidden talent. That’s why I watch the show, I’m trying to find it”) to Tom Jones (“So much gyrating… why?”), to himself (“It’s been 21 years since alcohol has passed these lips. But I also lie.”)
Classic Humperdinck cuts like “The Last Waltz” and the #1 smash “After The Lovin'” satisfied the swoons of the adoring audience, who sang along to every word and tried to rush the stage vying for his attention. During the latter, a vintage video appeared on the screens portraying a fresh-faced Humperdinck belting out the song on grainy ’70s-era television footage. Sitting in the crowd and darting your eyes back and forth between the younger Humperdinck on screen and the live version, it painted the perfect picture of just what a lengthy, impressive career this man has maintained.
“No show would be complete without this one,” he said while leading into “Am I That Easy To Forget”. But really, the man could have played any old song, and his adoring fans would have gone wild. He may be up on today’s pop culture references, but Humperdinck is very much a portal to a different time. To witness his performance is to forget about the sad state of affairs of today’s music industry and be taken back to a day when performers donned silk shirts, wiped their brows with red handkerchiefs, and blew their fans kisses.
“I’m a bit nervous up here,” he told the crowd, poking fun at himself when saying “I’ve been in this business three years now.” The legendary star then went on to tell the crowd how he had received advice from the greats personally, like when Elvis told him to spread his legs apart on stage, and later connected with the crowd by joking about Vancouver weather. “You have four seasons– rain, rain, rain, and under construction.” The personalized charm and touch paid off. Humperdinck could have stood still and sang for an hour without any of the jokes or character, but those moments are what made the experience complete and, likely, has contributed to securing Humperdinck’s place as a career artist.
Many of Humperdinck’s songs still elicit a genuinely timeless feel while holding up as powerful love songs of today, particularly notable in that the Engelbert Humperdinck of 2016 still maintains almost as much power as that of his heyday. The upbeat numbers like “A Man Without Love” stirred up sing-alongs with the crowd with catchy verses, where the ballads had people swaying in their seats, likely acting as a throwback to early romantic memories. He roamed the stage like a young pop prince, and then joked about needing a drink.
The real charm of the show came in the off the cuff moments, like when a tech came to switch out Humperdinck’s vocal monitor, to which he jokingly warned “Don’t touch my ass!”
The show benefitted immensely by Humperdinck’s stellar ten-piece band, featuring two backup singers as well as a brass section.
A certain amount of sentimentality and nostalgia fuelled Humperdinck’s performance, as would be expected. His stories and video montages included a fun, campy televised duet with Dean Martin, and a montage that mentioned he’s sold over 150 million albums to date.
Really, there was something for everyone here. A Calypso-laden “Quando Quando Quando” featured some bad-ass saxophone solos and some infectious bongos. A cover of Elton John’s “Something About The Way You Look Tonight” featured John’s pre-recorded vocal but ended up more touching than cheesy, which sounds almost unimaginable. He also knocked out a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with immense strength, and later took on a heart-melting rendition of “The Power of Love” featuring Johan Frank on Spanish guitar. “How I Love You” pulled at the heartstrings with its touching ode to lovelorn memories.
Even for those in the house not necessarily familiar with Humperdinck’s catalogue had a lot to connect with, as much of the show was filled with familiar pop canon favourites, as Engelbert seems to be a man in love with covers. On a country-tinged version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”, he donned a cowboy hat and joined in for a line dance with his backup singers. This is a man who, after five decades in show business, still doesn’t take himself too seriously, and his fun-loving spirit shines on stage for his fans to eat up.
During “Release Me”, he changed a lyric to “I can’t believe this song is 49 years old,” showing a clear self-awareness and ability to not be phased by his age, and a willingness to embrace his legacy as a performer. Afterward, an excited fan bounced up in her seat, to which Humperdinck asked her “Have you got a pair of panties in your hand? That’s dangerous if you’ve just taken them off.”
When the crowd goes wild for an encore, Humperdinck characteristically joked “I was coming back anyway,” before performing a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “For The Good Times,” a fitting goodbye that also showcased Humperdinck in a red robe, miming a boxing opponent, and tossing a dozen or so red handkerchiefs to his adoring fans. Give the people what you want, and it will pay off, surely. Six decades in, Humeprdinck appears to be just getting started.