The quaint yet gloriously alien doo-wop stylings of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons have received a massive boost in recognition over the past decade thanks to the success of their feelgood jukebox musical, Jersey Boys, but nothing beats witnessing the pocket rocket in person.
Playhouse, Edinburgh ****
Just a week shy of his 83rd birthday, Valli is still fronting his own slick flick through his back pages, heralded by a Vegas overture and snapshot history of his mammoth career, and backed by four peachy-keen junior Jersey boys to provide the heavenly helium harmonies and the finger-clicking choreography behind that extraordinary distinctive tenor voice.
That solid gold euphoric sound was showcased in all its incarnations, from the pop soul purpose of Who Loves You via a sumptuous, stylised take on Cole Porter standard I’ve Got You Under My Skin, the swooning schmaltzy solo hits My Eyes Adored You and Fallen Angel, precious museum pieces both, to the still fresh proto-disco and acid guitar flourishes of Beggin’ and the doo-wop purity of Silence Is Golden with its sly political comment.
Valli was the intense focus at the front but behind him musical director Robby Robinson was having a ball with his Bob James electro jazz licks and gleeful marshalling of the enthusiastic band.
The monumental Grease and northern soul classic The Night owed as much to their musicianship as the potent vocals. For the audience, however, the party properly arrived with December, 1963 (Oh What A Night) and kept right on until it was time to wave Bye, Bye, Baby.