Whether it was the late hour (9:45) for his new show, Feelin’ Good – which marked his debut at the Metropolitan Room, or the fact that he got stuck in traffic or just plain nervousness, Tony Middleton, entering from the audience sang a very touch and go, tentative rendition of “Stardust”, his opening number. But by evening’s end he had come into his own and was on fire – the transformation was incredible. He truly is one hell of a performer.
Tony Middleton went from restrained- “Cabin in the Sky” to warming up “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” to finding his groove “I Got Love” to turning up the heat “Georgia on My Mind” to unrestrained passion “Lady” to up to speed “Route 66” to finally relaxing and he’s getting’ hot now! “You Turned Your Back on Me”. What an amazing musical journey he provided for all his fans.
The latter part of the show which included a beautiful “Yesterday”- an up beat and let it loose version of “New York, New York” and then a fabulous “Wonderful World” was best. Tony sang with a warmth and a passion and sensitivity that showed off his smooth, lower sultry range, his belting top notes and his easy going, velvety, thick as molasses tones.
It was a return to the Golden Days of Cabaret. And his back up trio is one of the best I have ever heard. A classic Billy Kaye on drums, Rob Adkins on bass and the exceptionally talented, twenty five year old Jesse Elder on piano. When you think that almost fifty years separate him from Tony it’s hard to believe. They are so compatible and bring out the best of each other. His arrangements and playing are sensational.
As an encore Tony sang “All the Things You Are” a lovely ballad filled with love and his most famous hit “Church Bells May Ring” that he did with the Willows. Most of his songs are about love. He loves singing them and it shows. Looking forward to his next gig.