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David Foster, Andrea Bocelli & Katharine McPhee Live!

Music, well-played and well-sung, is always better in live performance. But, when you can’t be there for the live gig, a great recording of a live performance can be a real treat. And when you are lucky enough to collect some of the primal forces of good music, you are in for something memorable.

On May 23, 2008, the protean music man David Foster created a once-in-a-lifetime concert that showcased many of his hits and a few of the stars whose careers Foster launched. The finale was one of those peak moments, the kind I like to re-visit over-and-over.

The song, The Prayer, was composed and written by David Foster and the beautiful, and oh so talented, Carol Bayer Sager. Foster was at the piano, and in command of a magnificent orchestra.

Carol Bayer Sager

Award-winning songwriter Carol Bayer Sager

Collaborating in a perfect duet were Andrea Bocelli and a young Katharine McPhee. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard some of the sniffing and griping from a few fat old operatic tenors about Bocelli being more of a popular music singer than a classical singer. Have another cannoli, guys, and let Andrea have room to do his thing. I like it! I love his passion, his joy and his voice.

The pairing with McPhee was wonderful. She is young and beautiful and has terrific set of pipes. She didn’t let herself be intimidated by Bocelli’s reputation, or his voice. She was no trembling rookie on this night. She let it loose and was right there with him, every step of the way, in English and Italian. Well, she was with him until the last 10 seconds on the final note but, c’mon. It is just delightful!

Also, it never hurts to have long-legged, long-haired beauty in the number. You’ll see what I mean.

And you can purchase a CD/DVD combination package of this remarkable concert from the good folks at PBS. Go right here:

Hitman: David Foster & Friends

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DVR alert! Check your Local PBS Station

Check your local TV listings for tomorrow night, Friday – March 6, and over the next few days. My local public station is in one of its fund-raising cycles and they use some terrific music specials as their major vehicles.

This Friday (March 6) Atlanta’s PBA-30 is broadcasting Rock, Rhythm & Doo Wop, a terrific all-star show of performers from the early days of Doo Wop & Rick ‘n Roll. You will get to see the original performers do their hits from the early 50’s to the early 60’s.

This show is one of T.J. Lubinsky‘s excellent productions for public television. Yeah, there will be a few pledge breaks but, if you like this music as much as I do, you probably have to go pee a few times anyway. And consider calling in during one of those breaks to support your local station and get one of the great CD-DVD thank-you gifts in return.

There are some really great acts in this show. Little Anthony & the Imperials do three numbers, including Goin’ Out of My Head. This may be the last filmed performance with the classic foursome. Jay Black, of Jay & the Americans fame, does an unbelievable performance of Cara Mia. Jay sounds deeper, better, stronger than when he performed the same song on Shindig in the ’60s

Don’t stop watching too early. Near the end Kathy Young & the Innocents reunite do A thousand Stars. She looks wonderful! As the host, Jerry Butler, points out, she was “only fourteen years old” when she cut the original hit. Amazing! Also, Fred Parris rejoins The Satins (used to be The Five Satins) to do I’ll Remember (In the Still of the Night).

Also on the show are The Tokens. Original lead Jay Siegel (now Dr. Jay Siegel) is terrific in this performance, and most of the original Token’s appear. The only missing ingredient is Anita Darian, who sang descant on the original recording. I have always thought that Anita had the greatest voice ever pressed onto a ’45. The descant part is adequately performed here by Donna Groom, wife of the kettle-drummer.

The Greatest Voice in Rock 'n Roll

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