It's been a week since show tune crooner Tony Bennett performed at Radio City Music Hall with longtime friend Lady Gaga to support their last collaborative album and celebrate his 95th birthday. The two sold-out Radio City shows were not supposed to be the end for Bennett, but the beginning of the end, as he had more East Coast casino shows to fulfill.
However, according to Bennett's manager and son Danny Bennett, those New York City shows were his last live performances anywhere. The 95-year-old singer has had to cancel his remaining tour dates, and is now retiring from the stage.
“There won’t be any additional concerts,” his son makes clear. "This was a hard decision for us to make, as he is a capable performer. This is, however, doctors’ orders. His continued health is the most important part of this, and when we heard the doctors — when Tony’s wife, Susan heard them — she said, ‘Absolutely not.’ He’ll be doing other things, but not those upcoming shows."
One of those "other things" Danny Bennett could be alluding to is promotion of the upcoming album Love for Sale, which his father created with Gaga. That record is set to be released October 1st via Columbia/Interscope.
Just announced: "Love For Sale" with @ladygaga will be released October 1.— Tony Bennett (@itstonybennett) August 3, 2021
Pre-order the album and listen to our first single "I Get A Kick Out Of You" everywhere now:
Listen: https://t.co/I0ANs8VNeg pic.twitter.com/z5NpyXGfZS
Danny Bennett explained why his father's doctor has spoken out against concerts. "It’s not the singing aspect but, rather, the traveling. Look, he gets tired. The decision is being made that doing concerts now is just too much for him. We don’t want him to fall on stage, for instance — something as simple as that.”
But, emphasizes Danny, “We’re not worried about him being able to sing. We are worried, from a physical stand point…about human nature. Tony’s 95.”
In any case, it's been a thrilling month for Tony Bennett. Along with dropping a video for “I Get a Kick Out of You” with Lady Gaga and announcing their Cole Porter tribute album, the shows at Radio City Music Hall were, according to Danny, “triumphant. He sounded amazing for a man of any age.” He even told Variety that fans of his father approached him during the Radio City shows, questioning how on Earth his dad could possibly have Alzheimer's.
“They kept telling me that we lied, that there was no way Tony had Alzheimer’s,” said Danny with a soft chuckle. “I assured everyone that he does. … Yes, here he was, at 95, and still singing like this: strong, emotive. But still, it is a complex question: how can he do this?"
Danny Bennett continued, “My answer is that this is where he has lived his whole life and where he is most happy — on the stage, making music. Dealing as we have with Alzheimer’s for the last four-five years, it’s cognitive. He has short-term memory loss. That, however, does not mean that he doesn’t still have all this stored up inside of him."
Tony Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2016. In 2020, his family opened up about his diagnosis to AARP.
Despite the grim scenario, Danny is proud of what his father is still able to do.
"He doesn’t use a Teleprompter. He never misses a line. He hits that stage, and goes," Danny said. "Tony may not remember every part of doing that show. But, when he stepped to the side of the stage, the first thing he told me was: ‘I love being a singer.'”
Watch Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's video for "I Get a Kick Out of You" below.
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