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Engelbert Humperdinck: Smooth as Velveeta

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Engelbert Humperdinck in Concert


Engelbert Humperdinck, crooner from the ‘60s and ‘70s, performed at the Fox Theatre in Tucson, AZ, Feb 11, 2014. The pop singer has 77 studio albums, with more than 130 million copies sold worldwide. Add 64 gold and 24 platinum records to his credentials and you have a very impressive performance. See the Wikipedia link for more details.

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The show seemed to be a multitude of parodies in addition to the music. Engelbert poked fun at himself as well as other entertainers. The show began with a video of Eddie Izzard who riffs on the stage name chosen by Engelbert when his real name, Gerry Dorsey, would have been so much simpler to use. After the video, Engelbert appeared on stage and started singing “Welcome To My World”. Even though a few of the high notes were a bit of a reach, his voice is still good.

The video restarted after Mr. Humperdinck sang six songs. This time it was footage from his appearance on the Dean Martin variety show in 1970. Dean Martin reportedly gave Humperdinck his first big break in show business. He did a credible imitation of Martin after the clip. This led to the drinking joke: “I don’t drink as a rule, more as a habit”. He poked fun of Tom Jones by imitating Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual” and stuffing handkerchiefs down his pants. He did a cheesy Willie Nelson imitation as well. Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” was given an exaggerated country twang.

Humperdinck spent a good portion of the show plugging his forthcoming album, “Engelbert Calling”. The album consists of some 22 duets, each song with a different artist. He sang the duet with Sir Elton John, “Something About The Way You Look Tonight”, with John’s lines via CD playback. Other artists on the album include Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Cliff Richard, Kenny Rogers and many more. The cd has been a two-year project, thus far.

The audience was predominantly an older crowd. At the end of the show several women flocked to the edge of the stage. They were rewarded with a handshake from Mr. Humperdinck as he finished the 90-minute show. For the set list, click here.