How many living singers have fought in a world war, marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and duetted with both Judy Garland and Amy Winehouse? Just one that we know of: Tony Bennett. He was also once tasked with bringing the most famous dancer in the world to Las Vegas. “I was playing at the MGM Grand, and I was talking to one of the owners and mentioned that I had become friendly with Fred Astaire,” Bennett recalls in an email exchange with Las Vegas Weekly. “The next thing he did was to pull out his checkbook. He wrote on a blank check ‘made payable to Fred Astaire,’ handed me the check and said, ‘The next time you see Mr. Astaire, tell him if he would play a week here he can fill in any amount he wants.’ I actually did show Fred the check, but he never took them up on the offer.”
- Tony Bennett at The Pearl
- July 24, 8 p.m., $66-$141
- The Palms, 942-7777
Bennett, on the other hand, has been a frequent Las Vegas performer. His latest visit finds him at the Pearl on Sunday night, celebrating his upcoming 85th birthday (August 3) and the September release of Duets II, a series of collaborations with the likes of Winehouse, Willie Nelson, Andrea Bocelli and Mariah Carey. “I think many [of the duetting singers] were surprised by how we record, which is totally live with my jazz quartet in the studio with us” Bennett says. “It’s a very different way to record than many contemporary artists are used to, but a lot of them walked away saying that is how they want to record their next record.” Smart move. This guy knows stuff.