Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Liza Minelli have plenty of proof why they are show business legends, and their "Ultimate Event" tour is a key piece of evidence.
The trio took the stage for an hourlong medley of one-upmanship and camraderie at Atlanta's Omni Coliseum after strutting their musical prowess in solo performances.The concert, which drew nearly 17,000 people, was a stop on a tour that will end Dec. 4 in Detroit. Other stops include Miami; Tampa; Philadelphia; East Rutherford, N.J.; Uniondale, N.Y.; Worcester, Mass.; Houston and Los Angeles.
Minnelli, 42, the golden-voiced daughter of Judy Garland, replaced Dean Martin on the tour, which began in April as a campy excuse for the three former "Rat Pack" cronies to reunite. Martin dropped out after six performances because of health problems.
"She's added class to the show," said Barbara Bond, 56, of Atlanta, between Minnelli and Sinatra's solo appearances. "You would have had three guys out there talking about booze and women."
Minnelli's repertoire included nearly a dozen songs, among them a fast-paced "I Can See Clearly Now," "Our Love Is Here To Stay" and "Cabaret," the title song of the movie that won her a best actress Oscar.
Though the opportunities for "bad boy" repartee have diminished with the Minnelli-Martin swap, Davis and a hefty Sinatra supply an ample dose of man-to-man banter while Minnelli stands demurely aside.
A lordly Sinatra chided the wiry and playful Davis, 62, at one point, instructing him at one point to "hurry up" through a solo and scolding him at another point for talking to the audience.
"Where does it say here you make a speech?" Sinatra snapped.
"Thank you, Lord," Davis replied, sarcastically, and later put Ol'Blue Eyes in his place with a few remarks about his age, 73, cautioning "Frankie" "not to hurt yourself" during a medley.
Davis donned a hat for a rendition of "Mr. Bojangles" under a softly lit stage, drew laughter for a high-stepping parody of Michael Jackson's "Bad," and pulled at the audience's heartstrings with "With a Song in My Heart" and "What Kind of Fool Am I?"
Sinatra, who placed third in voice quality, picked up momentum with the shorter tunes, "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Where or When?" and "For Once in My Life" after losing the audience in a lengthy rendition of "My Boy Bill" from "Carousel."