"Live and Swingin': The Ultimate
Rat Pack Collection"
those who were not around to witness the Rat Pack in person during their
heyday, this is probably the closest thing you'll find to the actual experience.
This CD/DVD collection captures the ring-a-ding-ding magic Frank Sinatra,
Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin brought to the stage. Their individual
performances are amazing enough on their own, but when all three entertainers
hit the stage together...that's when the fireworks started. The goofed
off, tried to out zing one another, and generally had a good time. And
the best part of it all, is they made you feel as if you were in on the
joke. It was all one big, swinging cocktail party.
The CD features selections
from a series of shows performed a the Villa Venice Night Club near Chicago,
Illinois, November 26th through December 2nd, 1962. The rumor is these
shows were pay back for Sam Giancana's help in getting John F. Kennedy
in the White House. (And there are many nods to this throughout the show
including one great ad-libbed line Dino does during his modified version
of "The Lady Is A Tramp".) Martin starts off the disc with his mix of drinking-buddy
jokes and romantic crooner suave. Sinatra follow with his tough guy, take-no-prisioners
swing. Then there is Davis with his all-out show stoppers. But all these
solo sets are just appetizers to the main course (or the after-dinner drinks
if you want to think about it that way). Frankie and Dino gag through a
bunch of medleys. The gang belts out their big number "Birth of the Blues."
Frankie and Sammy do a killer version of "Me and My Shadow." And Dino and
Sammy bring the cool with "Sam's Song." It was the over-the-top, star powered
type of show that made the Rat Pack a legend in and outside Vegas.
If the CD wasn't enough
Rat Pack for you, this set also includes a DVD of a special benefit the
gang did at the Kiel Opera House in St. Louis, Missouri, June 20th, 1965.
The last minute emcee of the event was none other than Johnny Carson, who
fits in perfectly with the happy-go-lucky, late night lounge vibe. I fact,
Carson holds his own when he joins the boys for their big finale number
"Birth of the Blues." Although the set list on the DVD is much the same
as that on the CD, seeing the Rat Pack in action is an added treat. There,
on the screen, you get to see Dino wink and nod, Sammy do his soft shoe,
and Frankie command the respect he deserves.
No doubt about it, this
is the Rat Pack at their Rat Pack best.
Here are a few audio
samples: Dean Martin "I
Left My Heart in San Francisco" and Frank Sinatra "Goody
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