Sunday, June 3, 2018

Real Tales of the Boardwalk Empire

Look I went to AC for the action. That's what losers do. Or gamblers that is. If you are a gambler you are basically a loser. The house has the odds and they are not in your favor. When you are young and full of piss and vinegar you think youse is the guy who will beat the odds. You will count the cards. Pick the parley. Lay out the exacta. But you don't. You lose in the end. Every time.

It took a while but I finally figured it out. So I dialed back the gambling. Took my shots. I just enjoyed the life style. Late nights. Drinking. Jazz. So I would go with my buddies and leave them to the frenzied action. I would make my bets. I would go big when I bet but I tried to work the odds. I played the games with a little better chance here and there. I left the boys at the tables and went off to the lounge. I would bullshit with the Bartenders. Flirt with the hookers. Listen to some music. There was almost always a good jazz vocalist there. Saw Anita O'Day. Nancy Wilson. Steve and Edie. A bunch of them.

And of course I would organize tickets to the show. Those were the days when Trump and Steve Wynn were having a dick measuring contest. They would vie to bring in big names. Frankie Vallie. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Diana Ross. And of course....the Chairmen of the Board.

Frank was long past it. I mean he was suffering from dementia. His latest wife was rolling him out there and the cash was rolling in. One of his last appearances was at Bally's in their outdoor arena. It was sad and amazing all in one fucked up hot mess.

Frank comes out in the twilight heat and he is pissed. At performing. At the stupid people loving him. At his idiot son who was leading the orchestra. Frank Sintra Jr was running the show and Frank was pissed. He kept muttering under his breath "You fuckin' idiot...that's not the key....who the fuck gave you this gig." It was hilarious. Well not for Junior but for the rest of us you had to laugh. It was an older crowd. Franks crowd. They were just here to be able to say they saw the great man once live. Or as live as he was at the time. The music was pretty bad for the first part of the show. Frank was really phoning it in. He did a big medley of his hits. Didn't want to sing the whole fucking song. My Way. Chicago. Fly me to the Moon. Strangers in the Night. Summer Wind. He ran through them in a jumble and the rubes cheered each and every one because they recognized them. If Rickles were there he would have said "You recognized the scooby doobie do...what do you  want...a fuckin' cookie." Then it happens.

The band starts up a familiar tune. Familiar to anyone with half a fuckin' brain. Frank close his eyes. He starts to sing. It is one of my favorite tunes of all time. "Angel Eyes."

Frank is transported. He sings the whole song with his eyes closed. Not looking at the teleprompter like he did the rest of the show. He was swaying to the music, Feeling it. The night and the music. It must of took him back. To thousands of gigs at smoky clubs and bars. He hit every note with sincerity. Emotion. Pain. It was a Master at Work.

Most of the rubes didn't get it. There was tepid applause. He looked out at the crowd. Shook his head. Closed the show with a half ass version of "New York New York."

But I knew. A couple of other people around me did. This woman down the aisle had a single tear.. Another older guy was rubbing his eyes. A couple looked at each other and kissed after the song. They realized what had just happened

We got to see Frank Sinatra.


chickelit said...

I felt the same way about Dick Dale when I finally saw him. But Dick Dale isn’t dead yet.

ampersand said...

How much did tickets cost to see Sinatra? My neighbor saw him at the NY Paramount theater in the late 40s. He said the whole stage rose up with Sinatra and a whole band. The place was packed, over 3600 seats, and went nuts. He paid less than a dollar to see the statge show, a movie and a cartoon.

It's funny about Frank Sinatra jr, he looked like his father, but he himself looked like an old man. Hugh Hefner's son is the same, 24 years old and looks like he's 40. He's running Playboy now, right into the ground. That guy got his father's millions and his mother's brains.

Trooper York said...

$100 a pop.

Sixty Grit said...

Okay, that is perhaps not my first choice for music to listen to at 6 something in the morning, but he does it justice.

The Italian woman who raised me for a while told a story about sneaking out of parochial school in Manhattan to go see Sinatra sing - this was probably during his bobby soxer era - that would fit with her age and his career timeline.

Just noticed - Francis Albert was born exactly 7 days before my father. Hmm... But Hoboken is a far piece from Clarksdale, just sayin'.

ricpic said...

Sintra was so great. Driving, I picked up a tribute to Tony Bennett on the car radio and while he was good, quite good, there's no comparison. Sinatra had more arrows in his quiver.