(Published in the Upson Home Journal February 1994) KEEPING IN TOUCH By Aubrey Hammack
On January 29th, I attended a concert in Atlanta to see Frank Sinatra. This was one of those things I had to do for some time. I did not realize when the tickets were purchased that this was Super Bowl Weekend. But a few weeks before the event, I was made aware by the media. No, I did not grow up with Sinatra music but somewhere along the line I became a huge fan.
So this particular night, I was able to fulfill one of my dreams of seeing this legend. First let me say that there was a huge crowd that was fairly evenly mixed age wise. There was a huge orchestra, which was conducted by Frank Sinatra, Jr.
After the 1st half of the program, which was done by Don Rickles, the band softly started playing, I’ll Never Smile Again. The lights were dimmed and this set the stage for a fantastic evening.
The acoustics were great and so was my seat, which was at stage level about 30 feet away. As the band smoothly moved into Nice & Easy and then For Once In My Life, Sinatra was introduced.
As I sat there and he started singing I’ve Got the World On a String, I thought of how much class this type music has and how I wished I had grown up in Sinatra’s time.
Some of the songs he sang were: All Or Nothing At All, For Once In My Life, All the Way, and Come Rain Or Shine. But when he did Under My Skin, it really touched me.
My favorites were: My Valentine, What Now My Love, Mack the Knife, And I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry. As the concert wound down, I found myself not wanting to leave.
He did My Way, which really seems to fit his life. And when the lights went down and I thought that was it, but you know what? He brought the house down with New York, New York.
He is 77 years old, used 5 teleprompters, but he looked and sounded great. I am pleased that I got to see such a legend. On the reasons I wanted so badly to see him is that I know that with his age, he might not be around much longer. He sort of addressed that at the end of the concert when he stated that he hoped that all of us would live to be 150 years old and that the last voice we heard would be his.
I suppose what has always impressed me about Frank Sinatra is the tremendous voice and how smooth he moves from song to song. The Hoboken, New Jersey native came up in a blue-collar family, but fulfilled the American Dream.
Seeing him reminded me of one of the New York trips that I made last year. When traveling with a friend, Lewis Stover, Jr. to take my son to NYU to take his oral exams in April of 1993, we stayed in the Quality Inn just outside the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City.
When having breakfast that morning, the hostess when asked if she had liked Sinatra’s music shared an interesting story with us. She stated while working in a hospital evidently in Jersey City some years back that she had met Frank Sinatra’s mother.
It seemed that his mother used to visit the children’s ward there and would always give gifts to the underprivileged. Of course, Sinatra himself has been well known for his unassuming generosity.
Yes, it meant a great deal for me to see this great musician and movie star. He has made quite a contribution to the entertainment field.
As I sat there that night, I wondered who is going to replace this man. Some people are destined for greatness in all kinds of different areas. His greatest gift as far as I am concerned is his voice. No one will or could replace that voice.