Sinatra Concert Experience With Elizabeth Taylor

Jazzvrienden en vriendinnen, degenen die dit blog regelmatig volgen zullen weten dat ik op 6 april j.l. een artikel plaatste op dit blog over het concert dat Frank Sinatra gaf op 2 juni 1975 in het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam en dat ik daarbij aanwezig was. Tot mijn verassing kreeg ik een paar dagen daarna een bericht uit Amerika van The International Frank Sinatra Society. Die hadden mijn blogpost gezien en de toegangskaart die ik al zesendertig jaar bewaard heb.

Deze organisatie heeft met toestemming van de Sinatra familie een website in het leven geroepen om de herinnering aan deze grote zanger en acteur levend te houden. Op verzoek van hun president Craig Alinder heb ik een vertaling van mijn artikel gemaakt en dat is nu geplaatst op de site van de Sinatra Club. Een bewijs hoe de social media de mensen snel bijelkaar brengt. Hier de vertaling van het artikel en de link naar The International Frank Sinatra Society.

“I previously wrote about a Sinatra Fan in the Netherlands who had posted images of his ticket stubs to a Sinatra Concert in Amsterdam 1975. Bob Van Eekhout has been kind of enough to make an English translation of his experience which included the beautiful, late Elizabeth Taylor.

I will post the description of his experience for our readers:

“”People often ask me “have you ever seen Sinatra in concert?”. I shrug my shoulders and say “yes of course I did” as if it was the most normal thing in the world.  In 1975 he performed at a concert in Amsterdam and I was there. It cost me 250 Dutch guilders (now the equivalent of $170) for which I bought a front row seat, because I was thinking to myself  “I’ll do it right or not do it at all”.

Elizabeth Taylor and Henri Wijnberg

It goes without saying that it was a very special evening. All the top artists in Dutch show business were there and had booked a front row seat as well. And that was only the tip of the iceberg. There were a number of seats empty and it soon became clear why. Some fifteen minutes before the beginning of the show there was some noise in the audience as Henk van der Meyden (a showbiz star reporter of the most famous Dutch newspaper called “De Telegraaf”) entered the concert hall gesticulating wildly and talking accompanied by the famous movie star Elizabeth Taylor and her fiancée at the time, a Dutch man named Henri Wijnberg.

Later on I found out they had visited Sinatra’s dressing room before the show, which of course was only possible because Elizabeth was there. Everything said and written about her was and is absolutely true. When she came in there was a silence first and then the audience applauded and started to talk anxiously to each other. When you saw her it was as if she had put everyone under a magic spell, such an amazing impression she made on us. Then the lights went out and Sinatra came down the long stairs to the stage. The public stood up and applauded. An unforgettable moment.

I do not recall the entire performance after all these years. I do know that the week before he came to Holland the German press panned Sinatra and his shows attracted small audiences. Frank was still upset about that and he told the Amsterdam audience about it and said “Germany, I think I’m gonna buy it”. He then introduced “Strangers In The Night” and said he did not like the song and sang it with a bored face. Probably in part because the song was written by Bert Kaempfert, a German by birth. I do remember a great performance of the Rodgers and Hammerstein composition “I Have Dreamed” from the musical “The King and I”.

So now back to the magnificent “Watertown” production which I reviewed and the track “Elisabeth”. The arrangement by Charlie Calello is wonderful. He used a lot of different sound colours for the fairly simple melody. Pay special attention to the bridges between the choruses. The first with a great pizzicato piece by the violins and the second with the use of a Glockenspiel.

It is said that Sinatra sent this recording to Elizabeth Taylor for her birthday but that has never been confirmed. And sadly enough, we cannot ask either of them anymore “”.

I want to thank Bob for sharing and I heartily recommend his blog to our readers who read Dutch”.


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