Culture: Reassuring Dose of Gene Therapy

Article excerpt

Byline: Marcus Face

Gene Pitney Symphony Hall Gene Pitney is a diverse middle of the road pop singer, appealing mostly to persons in later middle age, especially women. His audience, to grossly generalise, is working class, uneducated, and unlikely to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of music. For some reason, they have stayed loyal, as fans and customers and are prepared to turn out on a blustery October evening en masse to adore Pitney and enjoy his music.

These totally unfashionable old people like myself have a point. Seldom have I seen so well balanced a set of material dynamically. Songs spanning his self penned repertoire to the Bacharach songs he made hits, to the country duets he recorded with George Jones were placed in contrasting juxtaposition.

Pitney is a gym-orientated youthful man in his early sixties, who injects his performances with energy, power and technical excellence, combined with convincing emotional projection. He wears a stylish black suit contrasting with silver white hair, and dances in an expressive yet unembarrassing manner not inappropriate to a man of his years. Unfortunately there were two medleys and one rather trite country song among tonight's veritable cornucopia of satisfactions.

Pitney's band, comprising a four piece brass section, four violin players, a grand piano player/musical arranger and bass guitar and drums evoke a Bacharach like sophistication visually as well as musically with dinner jackets and music stands.

One might be tempted to venture the audience, bereft of fashionable music education and self flattery have the superior taste in live shows to some of the supposed music fans whose lofty pretensions were the highbrow spirit of the age throughout the nineteen sixties. …