The Curtain Falls: Live at the Flamingo

Bobby Darin

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The Curtain Falls: Live at the Flamingo Review

by Lindsay Planer

This stellar nightclub performance, from early November 1963, somehow remained under wraps for nearly four decades. Thankfully it was discovered and issued by independent mail order specialists Collectors' Choice Music. In addition to the unique qualities of an unheard vintage recording, Bobby Darin had also cited this run -- at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas -- to be his last lengthy tour or nightclub engagement due to increasing health concerns. So, it is indeed a special affair. It was rare for a performer to be so accepted as both a sophisticated balladeer as well as a rebellious rocker. The Curtain Falls: Live at the Flamingo reveals both sides of Darin's underappreciated talent of interpretation. Handling ballads such as "My Funny Valentine" and "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" with sensitivity and control, Darin conversely rips open up-tempo numbers such as the "Hits Medley: Splish Splash/Beyond the Sea/Artificial Flowers/Clementine." Darin also swings through a spellbinding version of his trademark, "Mack the Knife." This in no way sounds like a man suffering from a rheumatic heart condition. In addition to the music, Darin offers up several spoken-word interludes. The aptly titled "Comedy Routine" features several impersonations by Darin as set to "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)." However, when introducing the title cut, Darin is somber, leading to an emotional climax -- not only for this performance, but for a brilliant live career as well. There is little information given in the liner-note text regarding the brilliant orchestra heard accompanying Darin during this run. However, their efforts are noted by the star and rightfully so, as they swing right along with him -- never overpowering, but infinitely enhancing, underscoring, and punctuating the proceedings. [Capitol released the same program five years later as Live from Las Vegas, part of the Las Vegas Centennial Collection series.]

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