Spoiler alert with that headline, right? Now, I know that FV is one old dude, and hasn’t had a hit since the 70s. But if you grew up like I did, with older siblings who were music-obsessed, you heard tons of great FV tunes in your day. There is a reason he is in the rock ‘n roll hall of fame.
How old is Frankie? 83! And still performing! Not only that, he is doing it well. No, he doesn’t move around on stage very much, he isn’t stage diving, and the Four Seasons and his backup band are not the originals. But he still has stage craft in those experienced bones. You can’t have performed for 65 years and not learned something about how to keep a crowd engaged. Frankie did it by rapping (it was hilarious), playing a medley of 60s hits by others, having the Four Seasons dance and do some of the heavy lifting for some of the songs, and using a video board pretty effectively for one song.
I know the question that you want the answer to. No, not why did I go (I’ll hit that below), but can FV still hit those high notes that are his trademark. The answer: yes, he can. Maybe not like in the old days, but I’m telling you, he didn’t miss them by much. It was great. And he played songs that the entire crowd knew by heart, BRP included. “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” “Working My Way Back to You.” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” “Walk Like a Man.” “Sherry.” “Rag Doll.” “Let’s Hang On.” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night).” Five of those songs were number one hits in their day. People sang along and enjoyed the hell out of it. Yup, BRP included.
Why did I go? Well, I’ve seen a lot of acts, but had never seen Frankie Valli. And with the recent deaths of some remarkable artists, like Gregg Allman, Chuck Berry and B.B. King, I just thought that if I was ever going to go see FV, this was my chance. The show was at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida, which is a solid venue with good acoustics, a big stage and great sightlines. I had seen the late Gregg Allman there a couple of years ago, and knew that it would be a good place to see another show. This one had been postponed from a few months back, and I just happened to be in town when it was rescheduled. I took the opportunity and came away happy.
It’s funny, I used to think of South Florida as a musical hell-hole. Now I can confirm it: it is. But it’s not as bad as it used to be. All the big arena acts come through because it is heavily populated, but it’s way down the lengthy Florida peninsula, and there aren’t a lot of indie bands that are going to drive the van that far in the heat. You have to take advantage of what it offers. Besides Gregg Allman and FV, I’ve also recently seen Phish, Bad Company, Joe Walsh, Butch Trucks, and the English Beat in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area. Not bad, right? And I passed on the opportunity to see Grouplove this past weekend (playing outside, too hot) and Train, too (I didn’t feel like driving to West Palm Beach – about 35 – 40 minutes away).
The Hard Rock gets some interesting acts. Rod Stewart is playing there this summer. I saw Rod in the 70s. I went with low expectations, and he blew me away. KC and the Sunshine Band play there occasionally, and I want to see them. In fact, I want to see them badly. Surprised about that one, aren’t you? They were a non-stop disco hit machine in the late 70s, and disco has held up a lot better than, say, doo wop. There’s a lot of schlock at the Hard Rock, too, like Pink Floyd tribute things (ugh, Pink Floyd!), but that happens in Philly, too. What is the deal with people liking Pink Floyd? Next thing, you’ll be telling me you like Billy Joel, too. And there are a few clubs that are close that have good shows, like the Culture Room in Oakland Park and Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale.
But this past weekend, it was Frankie Valli. I think that the Four Seasons that he now tours with are, altogether, younger than Frankie himself, but they clearly were enjoying themselves and probably psyched to have the opportunity to sing with a legend. There was some cheesy, old-time stuff thrown in, but if you took it in the spirit of good, clean fun, it was enjoyable. While I wouldn’t go see FV again, I’m really glad I grabbed the chance to see him before he no longer performs or dies.
Hey, just so you know, FV played at a volume level where I didn’t need earplugs. That’s kind of funny in a way as the crowd was basically much older than me, and who among them wasn’t hard of hearing? This was probably the show where lots of volume would be welcomed. Ironic, right?
Who’s next? Oh my, a much different and harder rocking duo known as Royal Blood. Earplugs? Oh, hell’s yes!! I’m really pumped for this show. In the meantime, I’ll have some other things to keep you entertained, including a few recommendations on bands that deserve your attention, and a link to a great Philly music site that you should check out.
I’m glad you came back to share some of your precious time with me. Devil horns at you! Until next time, be cool to each other, and enjoy the looong days of summer.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.