Frank Sinatra Jr. at Casino Rama, Ontario

ORILLIA

It was a fitting tribute from a son to his late father.
Frank Sinatra Jr. stepped onto the stage at Casino Rama Saturday night, just 11 days after his 68th birthday, backed by a 37-piece orchestra and wowed a capacity crowd of 5,000.

He stopped several times during the performance to pay tribute to that orchestra, the only one of its kind in an era where singers usually dominate the spotlight, rather than share it.

It was no secret what the audience wanted to hear – plenty of the elder Sinatra's big hits. And for the most part, Sinatra Jr. obliged, singing such songs as New York, New York, Summer Wind and even the Dean Martin versions of the Drinking Song and The Lady is a Tramp (changed by Martin to The Gentleman is a Tramp).

But if there was a highlight to the show (aside from the orchestra), it was when Sinatra Jr. sang It Was a Very Good Year, with pictures of his father from each of the decades his dad performed flashing on a screen in the background. It started with the words “When I was 17” and ended with “The autumn of my life.”. It was enough to bring tears to any Sinatra fan's eyes.

Several times during the show, fans tried to shout out happy birthday wishes to the Sinatra Jr., but he finally stopped them by saying “I don't celebrate birthdays anymore.”

What he did celebrate, though, was the life and times of his father, an icon, and a man who sang through seven decades. It started with One for My Baby and continued with hit after hit, backed by that fabulous orchestra.

But there was something missing here. The audience was probably expecting Sinatra Jr. to finish with his father's signature song, My Way, but it didn't happen. Instead, the younger Sinatra chose to end his show by singing only the last line: “Yes, it was My Way.”
Perhaps Sinatra Jr. knew that My Way was a song that should be remembered as his father's song and he was going to respect that by singing just the last line. Whatever the reason, few people seemed offended.

Sinatra Jr. used many of the mannerisms of his father, including slouching on the stage to sing some of the mellower songs while standing tall on others. He also worked the crowd very well, singing from one end of the stage to the other. The audience loved it.

Frank Sinatra may be gone, but his music is living on through his son. Saturday at Casino Rama, a tiny cross-section of lucky Canadian fans, got to share a bit of that history. It was indeed a special moment for any Sinatra buff.

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My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

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