April 13, 2014

Concert #172 - Connie Francis and Pat Boone at the Universal Amphitheatre (June 16, 1996)

Connie Francis
My previous post (about Nancy Sinatra's comeback in 1995) seems to have refocused my brain on some of my other guilty pleasures, hence this current post. I grew up listening to a lot of different genres and I loved them all, from easy listening at one end of the spectrum to hard rock at the other. This broad range of musical interests is reflected quite well in my concert-going history: I may be the only inhabitant of this planet who has paid money to see not only the Scorpions, Rush and the Cure, but also Roger Whittaker and Zamfir.

I became a fan of Pat Boone and Connie Francis in my younger days, when as a young child, I first heard Pat's "Speedy Gonzales" and Connie's "V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N". Since then, I have never stopped listening to their music and today, my digital music collection boasts not fewer than 750 recordings of the two, with 500 of them belonging to Connie.

Pat and Connie's co-headlining concert in 1996 took place at the Universal Amphitheatre. About three thousand fans showed up in an auditorium that could seat twice as many. I sat not too far from the stage.

In my estimation, Connie was a bigger star than Pat, so I was surprised when she came out first. Connie came in from the back of the seating area and walked slowly all the way to the stage while accepting the crowd's loud cheers and applause. I wasn't expecting her to sound like her old self, and she didn't, but one could still easily identify her voice. At times, she had some trouble hitting the higher notes. We got to hear many of her worldwide hits: "Stupid Cupid", "Lipstick On Your Collar" "Everybody's Somebody's Fool", "Among My Souvenirs", "Where The Boys Are", "Who's Sorry Now" and a few others. Some of these songs came in medleys, as is often done at nostalgia shows. At the end of her set, as she left the stage, Connie tripped and fell, but managed to immediately stand up, unassisted.  

Pat Boone
Pat Boone's set was somewhat similar to Connie's, as both artists elected to project old movie clips from their younger days on a large screen and just like Connie, Pat talked a bit about his chart-topping days. Accompanied by the New Chordettes, he sang "Ain't That a Shame", "Love Letters In The Sand", "Bernadine" and, of course, "Speedy Gonzales". He was in decent vocal form.

The evening was kicked off by Mel Carter, whose set also included his best known song, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me".

Mel Carter


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