FRANKIE Valli has long been plagued by accusations that he mimes in concert. After spending two hours in his company, sitting in a row not far from the stage, it certainly appeared to me to be the case. Does it matter? Not according to the thousands who enjoyed this show. They either didn’t notice or didn’t care that Valli might not have been singing for the most part. Valli entertained them. I wanted to enjoy it too as I’m a fan of his work, but I found it all too sad and embarrassing for comfort. Valli is 84 and this is his farewell tour. I take no pleasure from stating that he should’ve retired years ago.
Frankie Valli, Hydro, Glasgow **
Valli is renowned for his sky-scraping falsetto, a uniquely tough yet vulnerable pop sound synonymous with sun-baked New York fire escapes and switchblade romance. Of course he can’t hit those notes at his age, there’s no shame in that. However, I’d have more respect for him if he’d rearranged his material to suit his weathered voice. He must’ve been dismayed when that once formidable instrument gave up the ghost, but he should’ve accepted it with dignity instead of ploughing on.
You can’t argue with the canon, which is presumably why everyone else enjoyed themselves. Valli and his original Seasons (the current quartet are an anonymous bunch of youngsters) scored an incredible string of hits during their pomp, all of which were dusted off during this admittedly slick show. I even got goosebumps when Valli’s band launched into The Night, a classic surge of yearning northern soul drama which may well be his crowning achievement.
When he thanked the audience for giving him a life beyond his teenage dreams, he struck a touching note of sincerity at odds with his ersatz vocal performance. Did it taint his legend? No. His music will live on regardless. Just don’t remember him this way. - Paul Whitelaw