Bobby Darin

Concert Reviews


Reviews of Bobby Darin in concert during his amazing career.


January 26, 1966 -- FLAMINGO HOTEL, LAS VEGAS --


After an absence of two and one-half years Bobby Darin is back in the Flamingo Room with an exciting act which is even better than the one he had here when he established the showroom's all-time attendance and crowd turn-away record -- an honor he still holds.

Darin is one of the few nitery performers who click with all age groups. Despite his youth, he's a real pro with his song delivery, his stage presence, and his entertaining patter.

He's one of the better mimics and devotes a very funny 10 minutes to impreshes of such celebs as Cagney, Grant, Brando, Martin and Lewis. His well-paced turn at on point features a medly of all his top platters,
and he does an interestingly dramatic (without music) version of "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" with a topical segue into "King of the Road."

Darin gets laughs with a guitar bit, and winds with a rousing arrangement of "One of Those Songs." Maestro Richard Wess does a superb job of coordinating the session as middle man between Darin and the fine Russ Black Orchestra (29).

Ringsiding Groucho Marx, when introduced, summed up the first-nighter reaction to Darin: "When I first saw you, you were only a singer. Now you're a singer and an actor."

For more on this performance go here.




August 24, 1966 -- FLAMINGO HOTEL, LAS VEGAS --


Now that Bobby Darin is back in town, the Strip has two top-liners who are responsible for past attendance records in thier respective showrooms -- Darin at the Flamingo and Donald O'Connor at the Sahara.

Darin's current turn is as electric, exciting and strong as ever, he's an outstanding showman, a fact which embellishes his tone versatility. His stage savvy blends neatly with his pleasant patter between songs, which include "Don't Rain on My Parade," and of course, "Mack the Knife," among others. He winds with an overwhelming "Canaan's Land."

His impression segment again proves uncanny ability to carbon other celebs. Roger Kellaway conducts the Russ Black Black Orchestra (29) for Darin, and Hugo Granata should get special credit for the vivid lighting.

Richard Pryor makes his Vegas debut on this bill, and the young comedian scored consistantly with first nighters through the Bill Cosby school of reminiscing and identifiable storytelling. His wonderfully kookie style slaughters such subjects as New York, school plays and TV commercials.




September 21, 1966 -- HARRAH'S, RENO --


Since Bobby Darin first toiled for the Harrah's on the bill with George Burns in the old South Shore Room at Tahoe in May 1959, he has developed into an astute personality, as evidenced by his disclicks, film and video work and his headline status in the important rooms on the nitery circuit. In this preem date at Harrah's he gives evidence for the justified escalation. He's assured, confident -- and displays promanship.

On for 45 minutes, he varigates with pops, ballads and spirituals, mimes a diverse list of entertainers, self accomps with guitar, and tosses in a bit of terpology. He tees with "Don't Rain on My Parade" follows with a vocalog that touches all bases. He puncuates the uptempo then resorts to free-flow patterns for the ballads and the slower titles. Latter category includes (in part) "Once Upon a Time" essayed with sensitivity and emotion.




April 19, 1967 -- HARRAH'S, LAKE TAHOE --


Back on the Harrah's Tahoe marquee, after an absence of four years Bobby Darin reprises bascially the same act he showcased in his preem outing at Harrah's Reno, last September. He remains a class endeavor with promanship all the way. Musical arrangements are superb and singer has the know-how to sell each tune for ultimate effect. He's also developing high proficiency along comedy lines as evidenced in a session miming other show biz names.

He initials on "Don't Rain on My Parade" and demeanor suggests complete confidence and assurance. It's retained for the full 45 minutes of variegated song and chatter. The lush, luminous charts (credited to his 88er-conductor, Roger Kellaway), provide colorful drops for Darin's discriminating interpretations of "Got You Under My Skin," "Charade," "If I Were a Carpenter" and "18 Yellow Roses." His "Mack the Knife" earns big response ditto for a lilting declination of "Shadow of Your Smile." For the fun stanza he mixes spoonerisms into the banter, as he employs "One for My Baby" as vehicle to demo his aptitude for carboning the likes of Cagney, Brando, Walter Brennan, Burt Lancaster, Gable, Robert Mitchum, others. He is accomplished at both vocal and physiognopmic mimicry. Troubodor also touches on C&W and rock, and takes a short stand at the Steinway before wrapping with "That's All."




June 12, 1968 -- MR. D's --


Mr. D's, San Francisco's newest supper club and touted as the largest, opened grandly with a classy, polished one man show by Bobby Darin, backed by a 23-piece orchestra.

For openers, Darin gave them an impressive solo show. Like that other Mr. D, Sammy Davis Jr. Darin is the complete entertainer. He sings extremely well out of every pop bag from ballads to a hard rocking "Splish Splash," his own composition, and at his best, as in "If I Were A Carpenter" with a thrilling guitar and flute backing is great. He accompanies himself on occasion on a very competent guitar and piano, moves like a dancer, snaps patter, clowns and does imitations,especially funny ones of Rex Harrison and Tony Bennett. One imitation, that of Ray Charles was unannounced and serious.

The audience demands his own "Mack the Knife" and rather than just run through again, he brings freshness by mocking and playing with it.




July 10, 1968 -- ROOSTERTAIL, DETROIT --


Bobby Darin has changed his act for the better since he was here last September. The biggest change is the pace, which he has quickened considerably. He practically charges on stage and launches a series of rhythm numbers with the musicians who are traveling with him leading the Terry Harrington Roostertail Orchestra in a very exciting uptempo beat.

Darin runs through three numbers in great style and with more body motion and footwork than remembered during his last outing before he informs the capicity audience at Tom and Terry Schoesmiths Roostertail that he has a sore throat and was hoarse. Although not apparent up to there, the hoarseness did become noticable in the next number "Someone to Watch Over Me". As soon as he got back the beat, however in "Mack the Knife," the voice problem seemed non-exsistent to the auditors and remained hardly bothersome throughout the hour turn, except for the occasional ballads.

Darin has changed his excellant mime act from the "Method Drunk" who "sees" the stars to a clever parody of "Dr. Dolittle." He impersonates Rex Harrison fairly well and then, while singing "Talk to the Animals" smoothly works in the voices of Jimmy Cagney, Cary Grant, Clark Cable, Jimmy Stewart, Walter Brennan, Robert Mitchum, Tony Bennett, et.al.

Darin bowed at this point but was brought back. He introduces his musicians who are augmenting The Terry Harrington Orchestra and they deserve the praise he lavishes on them. Robert Rosario is his conductor-pianist, Larry Beaver, a real tiger on the drums, Bobby Dunn and Joey Lemon on guitars and Barry Chapman on sax. All are excellant musicians and the Harrington Orchestra never sounded better.

Darin takes a turn on the guitar for some fun cornpone, sings some more, then winds with some excellant pianistics. Hoarse voice and all, it's a high class act all the way.




June 3, 1970 -- LANDMARK,LAS VEGAS --


Bobby Darin is back and he brought "Mack the Knife" with him. On his last two trips here, he billed himself as "Bob Darin," concentrated mainly on message songs, wore denims. He had a fine act, but it didn't commercially click with Vegas cross-section audiences.

This time around, Darin compromises -- but not enough to sacrifice his integrity -- and tosses a few which which are expected "Mack," "Spinning Wheel," and "Everybody's Talkin' at Me." The slight surrender (he still has the denims) results in a strong excellant turn. Early Darin diehards may miss his accurate celeb impreshes, but even a brief sampling probably would hamper the flow of the turn.

Charts are outstanding, and most were written by Quitman Dennis, who batons Darin's back-up 11 musicians. Initialing with "And When I Die" the personable singer, in his interestingly identifiable tones tosses such as "City Life" (which he cleffed) "Carpenter," "Simple Song of Freedom" and a stirring salute to Aretha Franklin, winding with a wild "Spirit in the Dark" while on 88.




September 16, 1970 -- LANDMARK,LAS VEGAS --


Both sides now of Bobby Darin will make it a smashing month at the Landmark. It's all music, from Darin's opening seg of earlier styled belting (if not the same old finger-snapping zippies) through his closing period, as the folk minstrel for the wrapup.

He has a way with audiences, with his sharp remarks usually managing to get to all ages represented in the room. His vocalog also grooves to young and elder with mostly overground tunes. Recourse to yesterday is the top pop in his catalog, "Mack the Knife" with "Sweet Caroline" and "Hi-De-Ho" very strong in the current carton, equaled by a powerful Beatles medley.

Darin also has a triptych of folkways. "Midnight Special," "Carpenter" and his own "Simple Song of Freedom" to keep his stock on high level. He accomps himself many instances on acoustic guitar and a driving wailing harmonica, both of which add heavy accents.




January 27,1971 -- DESERT INN,LAS VEGAS --


Back in his old snappy form, Bobby Darin hits off very well with the assorted junketers and middle-roaders who populate tables here. Remembering his "Mack the Knife" chiefly, they give him a torrent of enthusiastic applause for his inclusion, with other kudosings receding in ratio for "If I Were a Carpenter," "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" and his kindergarther tune "Splish Splash."

The rest of his log has some very current ties in presentation, with a Beatles medley winning plenty of approval and his own "Simple Song of Freedom" achieving very respectable results.

Darin has very strong support from the Jeannie Thomas singers, a trio of lasses who send out warm waves of sound to blend with the leaders notes. Quitman Dennis performs fender bass while leading the muchly pared-down Carleton Hayes Orchestra, and his influence in the charts and directions is noticeable. Other solid rhythmickers are Terry Kellman guitar, Tommy Amato drums, and Billy Aiken piano.




September 30, 1972 -- HILTON HOTEL,LAS VEGAS --


Bobby Darin will be the next performer to join the select rank of what is termed Las Vegas Superstar. His Hilton outing is probably the best of his career. His personality is colorful, his music ranging from "Mack the Knife" when he takes off his tie after coming on stage in a blue pin stripe suit to discarding the coat and playing the harmonica on "Midnight Special."

It's Bobby Darin as his fans loved him and it's Bobby Darin that strangers will soon learn to love. He offers his 1966 Tim Hardin written hit "If I Were a Carpenter" and then the 1969 song Darin wrote for Hardin "A Simple Song of Freedom."

All his selections are backed with a hard, steady beat. He is backed by three voices known as "The Last Chapter" and The Joe Guercio Orchestra.

Opening the strong bill is singer Shirley Bassey. Her voice is dramatic, on key and powerful. Bassey and Darin are singers who work well together, each having their own styles, which happen to be poles apart. Nevertheless, they compliment each other.





Thanks to Billy Polito for this photo.


Thanks to John Goldsmith at WGEL Radio FM 101.7, home of The Goldies Oldies Show
and to Bruce Kellhlar for contributing these newspaper clippings!



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