Oh, he is back. Believe me. ‘Old Blue Eyes’ is definitely back.

When I agreed to write the review of Sinatra: The Main Event, everyone I mentioned it to proceeded to sing ‘those’ two songs at me, so I set out here to not mention ‘those’ two songs by name as you know them all too well it seems.

Sinatra: The Main Event sets out to recreate Sinatra’s epic comeback show in every detail. The Globe At Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach has been transformed into the 1974 Madison Square Garden and although it doesn’t seat the New York venue’s 20,000, the space feels grand enough to give the feel of that, yet still manages to be intimate enough that when Hollywood star Richard Shelton sings, you can feel like he is singing to you.

Shelton is a revelation as Frank. Far more than a tribute act, Shelton inhabits Frank; every mannerism, facial movement and velvet-lined sway is pitch perfect, much like the singing. In both performance and vocal talent Shelton doesn’t put a note wrong. Also, like Old Blue Eyes himself, Shelton holds the audience in the palm of his hand with total control of his craft.

Unlike Blackpool’s ever popular Legends show, Sinatra: The Main Event has more in common with a brilliantly crafted piece of theatre. Legends sets out to entertain via imitation and cabaret which it does with aplomb. Sinatra: The Main Event on the other hand sweeps you up into a different time and place, a musical TARDIS if you like, that allows you to visit New York in the seventies and experience what has been called the greatest comeback show in the history of music.

The Syd Lawrence Orchestra is also due a mention, masterfully playing the music for Shelton to fill with Frank’s voice as he stalks the stage with all the swagger and cool of the blue-eyed wonder himself. The songs, ah the songs. Before seeing this show I wasn’t really a huge fan of Sinatra I have to admit. A small town boy like me with a head full of clouds gravitated towards Morrissey. Sinatra was of a different era to mine, so I was worried I wouldn’t know any of the songs apart from the obvious two. This was not the case and hit after hit was blasted out to the audience: A Very Good Year, Mac The Knife, Funny Valentine, The Lady Is A Tramp featured among others. When the two songs, yes you know the ones I mean, were played, Shelton and the audience nearly ripped the roof off the building.

I might sound a little overblown and enthusiastic but I enjoyed the show so much I intend to revisit it later in its run with as many people as I can gather so they can experience it for themselves, which is exactly what you should do. Yes, it does seem like the words of ‘that’ song. I’m ‘spreading the news’, and spread it I shall, and, what’s more, I’ll do it my way… Damn, almost made it.

Sinatra: The Main Event is running now, it continues Friday and Saturday until 6 September.  Booking is advised.


Featured image from Sinatra: The Main Event promotional material.

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