Zac Brown works a pretty good hat game, so it didn’t seem out of place when he sported a fedora onstage during Wednesday night’s taping of “Sinatra 100 – an All-Star Grammy Concert,” airing this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Harry Connick Jr., Usher, Carrie Underwood and John Legend were among those who turned up for this 100th-birthday tribute to the man many call the 20th century’s greatest entertainer.
“I think Frank Sinatra might have been the coolest human on earth,” Brown said following the concert, which took place at Steve Wynn’s Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. “Also, to breathe life into these songs and have a range of genres and generations performing them and exposing them to younger generations, I just think that’s really important. Sinatra also made everything seem effortless when really what he was doing was very, very complicated. For that I give him much respect.” Brown’s favorite moment of the night? “Oh, Alicia Keys [singing “I’ve Got a Crush on You”] ? so sultry and sexy,” he said.
FEDORA FOR THE WIN: Zac Brown performing at the “Sinatra 100 – an All-Star Grammy Concert” show. (Photo: Getty)
Brown was among those who attended a post-concert private dinner Wynn hosted at — where else? — the Sinatra restaurant at his Encore resort. Surrounded by admirers at the bar, Tony Bennett, who drew sustained standing ovations both before and after performing “I’ve Got the World on a String,” talked about the simple influence of the Sinatra songbook. “This is all great, great music, and every artist did Sinatra proud tonight,” Bennett said. “I think it’s the first time in about 25 years that people are going to hear real music performed on television. What they play everyday to me is pretty strange.”
The three-hour concert will be edited down to two hours for the broadcast. Among the night’s funniest moments: Jeremy Renner flubbed his introduction of Seth MacFarlane a couple of times before jokingly yelling, “F?k you, it’s taped!” At the dinner later, Renner, wearing a chocolate velvet tuxedo by Hugo Boss, talked about why he wanted to take part in the tribute. “What’s not to love about Sinatra? That’s how I grew up in music,” he said. “Frank Sinatra continues to influence our culture; a lot of people still would love to be just a percentage of what he was back in the day. He represents masculinity, femininity, music, style, everything.”
Classic style was the order of the night at this black-tie-only affair — even Garth Brooks, whom you rarely see in anything but jeans, appeared in a tux (paired with a black cowboy hat, of course). Beyond mere fashion mandates, it was clear this roomful of Sinatra fans was only too happy to embrace the spirit of the evening. “Frank Sinatra was the coolest man who ever lived,” said CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves. “All of us guys tried to emulate him all the time. Look at all of these people coming together tonight: Who could know Zac Brown was such a huge Sinatra fan?”
For Moonves, the night’s other big surprise and favorite moment was MacFarlane, who stepped outside the comedy genre to perform moving renditions of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road).” “I had heard Seth is a Sinatra fan, but his performance just knocked me out. Those two songs just got me,” Moonves said.
As the concert wound down, audience members wondered about the two songs surely any Sinatra tribute couldn’t be without: “My Way” and “New York, New York.” For the former, producers (which include youngest daughter Tina Sinatra) wisely decided to let Sinatra continue to own that iconic moment, showing a past performance on a large video screen above the live orchestra. For the latter, however, Lady Gaga took the stage in a menswear-inspired tux and fedora; both her sartorial choice and powerful rendition of the Sinatra signature capped the evening in electrifying fashion.
As for Gaga’s pointedly androgynous performance look, well, that only proves the universality of Sinatra, Moonves noted. “His style has affected music, it’s affected dress, it’s affected life,” he said. “There’s a reason he lives on.”
FRANK’S FAN: Lady Gaga performing at the “Sinatra 100 – an All-Star Grammy Concert” show. (Photo: Getty)