If you love good R&B and soul, with a little soft pop thrown in, you have to love the music of Michael Bolton. Bolton is a superb singer/songwriter who has sold more than 53 million albums and singles worldwide. Recently, Michael Bolton sang at the Concert Venue in Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City. I had the privilege of attending as a guest of Harrah’s and Caesars Entertainment.
The show started a little late, but it wasn’t too bad. The Concert Venue at Harrah’s is a relatively small theater, as casino showrooms go, but a comfortable one. It was an easy wait. And then the lights went down and it was time for Michael Bolton.
The cheers went wild as he walked out on stage. After seating himself on a bar stool, he grabbed a guitar and the music started. He asked the audience to sing along as much as possible, to make his job easier.
One of the first things he did was crack a joke about not having birthdays ever again, which was a reference to the fact that Bolton turned 60 on February 26. You’d never know it, though, to listen to him or look at him. His voice is just as strong as it was 30 years ago. And, yes, there’s a glimmer of silver in his blonde hair and maybe a line or two here and there, but he’s definitely easy on the eyes.
The set list swung from his classic songs like “Dock of the Bay” and “Steel Bars” to songs from his recently-released album “Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A.” Bolton performs a lot of material written by the Detroit songwriting team of Nick Ashford and wife Valerie Simpson. He was overjoyed to find out that Valerie Simpson was in the audience, although he said it scared him a bit.
Bolton’s show band was simply phenomenal. He introduced saxophonist Michael Lington several times, an award-winning jazz musician in his own right. Lington played a few breaks to allow Bolton to refresh himself and his voice.
Michael Bolton has a very special duet partner in Kelly Levesque. She has a voice as strong as his, but the two of them make vocal magic together. Their rendition of “The Prayer” by David Foster just about brought the house down.
I think the one surprise for the audience was when Bolton started talking about singing with the late, great tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Was he going to sing opera? He did, indeed. His rendition of “Nessun Dorma” from the Puccini opera “Turandotte” was amazing! You just don’t expect a pop singer to be able to hit notes like that.
The concert was over all too soon and then we were treated to a gorgeous rendition of “Georgia On My Mind” for an encore. If you love the music of Michael Bolton or just this kind of music, you owe it to yourself to get to a concert the next time he's near your town.