A flawless performance from Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons at Cork’s Live at the Marquee

 Joe Dermody

No seats could contain the ecstatic Marquee crowd for the dazzling show delivered by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Magic show. 

Lithe, limber and rocking the trendy black shirt, both Frankie Valli and his show hits the Marquee ground running from song one right through to the last.

It’s not comparing like with like, but Frankie Valli must have the sweetest male voice to visit Cork since Art Garfunkel graced this same Marquee stage in 2006.

That night, people marveled at how well Art’s voice had aged for a man of 65. They were right, Art’s voice was still flawless at the time. Frankie Valli is 83. He’s still flawless now. 

And he has the patter of a pro. He makes a plea for harmony in these troubled times, his way of saying he’s all about the music. Costume change, red shirt for the romantic 1960s section.

"Right now, we’d like to slow it down and bring you back to 1974," says Valli. My Eyes Adored You.

"This next one was written by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and we had the pleasure of recording it. It’s the title song of a movie. Let’s see if you recognise it." Grease (Is The Word). Eh, yes we know it. Overhead hand claps, and we all give it up for Frankie.

The Four Seasons have an endless stream of hits: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Rag Doll, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, Walk Like A Man, December 1963 (Oh, What a Night), Our Day Will Come.

Then there’s their hits of the 1980s and beyond covering classics like Working My Way Back To You. My personal favourite was their post-disco ’Taste of Sinatra’ reworking of Got You Under My Skin. 

There’s something magical about these songs. Certainly all of the members have remarkable voices. Done well, New Jersey street corner doo wop is mesmerising, at once uniquely skilled and virtually completely unschooled.

After all, Bob Crewe wrote virtually every hit listed above. Crewe wasn’t even a musician; instead of noting down the music, he’d sing the songs to pianist Bob Gaudio. He’d control the arrangements by giving Gaudio instructions like ’a bit more blue, a bit less brown’. Talent beyond treason.

And this Marquee performance by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons equally defies what we might consider normal expectations. 

Valli is the only original member still touring. It’s perhaps not too surprising that the current Four Seasons, all fairly young men, have great voices.

What’s definitely surprising is that, vocally, Valli still wipes the floor with the young guns, just as he has with ease wiped floors with everyone he has teamed up with since this band formed back in 1959.

Magnificent band, by the way. Truly. But they’ll always be in Frankie’s ageless shadow. Or does he even cast a shadow? 

Perfect voice, cherubic skin, great hair, whatever pact he has made with the devil, all I know is that if ever I find myself in need of supernatural counsel, I’ll be giving Frankie a call for his lawyer’s number. Oh, what a night indeed.


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