Engelbert Humperdinck clearly still loves what he does – and last night’s Aberdeen audience would confirm he does it remarkably well.
Music can be a wonderful career. If you’re a professional musician or singer it’s quite possible – health-permitting – that you can keep doing the job you love for your whole life.
The likes of Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Cliff Richard are all still performing in their later years, but last night someone who pre-dates even the ‘Fab Four’ showed that age really doesn’t matter. If proof were needed you only had to be at the Music Hall in Aberdeen as 85-year-old crooner Engelbert Humperdinck delivered a remarkable show.
Born as Arnold Dorsey, the Indian-born singer decided in the mid-1960s that a more elaborate stage name was needed, and he has never looked back.
Now celebrating a career spanning a staggering 55 years, the Aberdeen date was part of a 14-night UK tour, which Humperdinck has dedicated to his wife Patricia who sadly died after contracting coronavirus in February.
Plenty of energy in the room for Engelbert Humperdinck gig
Most of the Aberdeen audience would have remembered when Engelbert Humperdinck kept Penny Lane off the top of the charts, so it was no surprise that this was an all-seated show. Sitting they may have been but from the opener, Funny How Time Slips Away, there was plenty of energy in the room as the singer and his eight-piece band delivered an evening of classic songs.
And how encouraging was it to see the city’s music fans turning out again in decent numbers to support live music, and organisations like Aberdeen Performing Arts, who run the Music Hall.
Black suited, with an open-neck shirt, Humperdinck brought the showmanship that saw him pack venues in showbiz centres like Las Vegas in the 1970s. There was warm applause for The Last Waltz and Quando – even though a good few folk watched the show through their smartphone screens, videoing most of what was going on in front of them.
Performing biggest hits as well as covers
As well as the standards, he turned out fun versions of Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock and Elton John’s Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me. The band were terrific throughout too. Super tight, with harmonies from his two female backing singers reinforcing the sound.
Vocally it may have been a relaxed delivery style, but Engelbert Humperdinck isn’t short of stage craft and sharp wit. His warm character and charm shone through, as did a genuine enthusiasm for being in Scotland. In November – some way from his LA home in the Sunshine State.
Earlier on, English comedian Tim Clark was a long way north too, opening the night with a 20-minute old school style set, which seemed to tickle the audience.
As for Engelbert, after 90 minutes on stage, there was just time for encore Release Me, his biggest hit. This time the audience were up and out of their seats, singing along with a man who clearly still loves the job he does. His late wife Patricia would have been proud.
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