Frankie Valli / Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons

The Very Best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons: Live in Concert

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By 1992, when this concert was videotaped at Bally's Grand Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons were celebrating their 30th anniversary, dated from their first hit, "Sherry," in 1962. For 20 of those years, Valli had been the sole original member of the group, with even the musicians who had been part of the mid-'70s comeback long gone. Still, this crop of five backup musicians had been with the act for a while. Keyboard player Tim Stone was a relative newcomer, having joined in 1990, but guitarist Larry Lingle had been in the band since 1981; drummer Chuck Wilson since 1980; bassist Rex Robinson since 1979; and musical director/keyboardist Robbie Robinson since 1978. Thus, it was no surprise that they had the 75-minute show down pat. The Four Seasons released a new album, Hope + Glory, in 1992, an album with a distinctly contemporary sound, but there was no hint of that here. Rather, this was strictly a hits and oldies show, with most of the songs performed to sound like the records. (One exception was "Beggin'," given a spiffy new arrangement.) For the show, the group was accompanied by half-a-dozen or so horn players in tuxedos who sat on a raised platform in the dark at the back of the stage and punched up the sound. Although Valli was the focus of attention, the group provided spirited backing, all proving to be good singers (except Robbie Robinson, who restricted himself to keyboard work, albeit with a vocoder mouth attachment at times), as they demonstrated during an a cappella doo wop section. (Stone got his own solo on the only Four Seasons hit not to feature Valli, "Silver Star," which allowed the leader time to take a break and change jackets.) There were some slight surprises, such as the inclusions of "Silence Is Golden" (a Four Seasons song that became a hit for the Tremeloes) and "Fallen Angel" (which, as Valli noted, was more of a hit in the U.K. than in the U.S.), but for the most part this seemed to be a representative set by a good oldies act that delivered most of their hits to an approving audience.