By DAN MACINTOSH
It’s old news to remark how Frankie Valli’s voice is a freak of nature. His unusual falsetto singing style brought him fame in the early 1960s, and even the disco era of the 70s couldn’t keep his more danceable singles off the charts.
It may be newsworthy, though, to say Valli still sounds amazingly good. All his musical chops were on display during the second of a two-night stand recently, at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.
Valli was backed by a large ensemble, which included a horn section, two guitarists and his backing, dancing and singing Four Seasons. He came out dressed in a suit but soon switched to a colorful casual button-up shirt and slacks combo midway through “Swearin’ to God.”
He and the Seasons then harmonized beautifully on “Silence Is Golden,” which – as Valli informed the crowd – was unbelievably first released as a B-side. In addition to a hit-filled night (Valli announced early on how there would be less talk, so they could fit in more music), the diminutive crooner also sang selections from his Romancing The ‘60s covers album. These were prime choices, too, including “Call Me,” “Spanish Harlem,” and a medley of “My Girl” and “Groovin.’”
Valli’s personalized arrangement of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (not on that album, by the way) was also a sonic highlight.
There were plenty of sing-along moments this night, especially during the Barry Gibb-penned “Grease,” “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” and “Who Loves You.” Valli proved how his voice is still in fine form with the ballad “My Eyes Adored You” and the hit “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”
Valli went all the way back to the beginning for “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man” near the show’s conclusion. He’s amassed so many hits over a long and successful career, he was easily able to perform this nearly two-hour concert without including even an ounce of fat.
Seeing vintage rock stars can be a bit of a gamble because time has not always been kind to many of them. While Valli has clearly aged, he still sang beautifully and even joined the Seasons in a few dance moves toward the night’s end. If you have a chance to catch Valli singing his hits, do not pass up that opportunity.
Video of Frankie Valli in Santa Rosa by Dennis Urbiztondo: