When Bennett took the stage of the Congo Room at Las Vegas’ Sahara Hotel on April 8, 1964, he was already well on the path to pop stardom. “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” had won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1963; this milestone was followed up with the acclaimed album I Wanna Be Around... , which yielded two additional pop smash hits in “The Good Life” and the title track. And Bennett had wowed live audiences everywhere: in 1962 alone, he’d played Carnegie Hall, the first broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and a dazzling performance in Washington, D.C. with jazz pianist Dave Brubeck (recently discovered and released as Bennett & Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 ).
There was nowhere to go but Vegas - the entertainment capital of the age, home to Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack - and Bennett’s first performance there, brilliantly captured on this disc, showcases the inimitable talents of the singer as well as an audio snapshot of the era in which it was recorded. Bennett’s unique set is punctuated by not only his most show-stopping hits (“San Francisco,” “I Wanna Be Around,” “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road”), but overlooked pop standards like “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” and Cole Porter’s “From This Moment On” from the musical Kiss Me, Kate . There’s even a brilliant, only-in-Vegas com- edy routine from Milton Berle, Danny Thomas and Mickey Rooney in the middle of the set!
Live At The Sahara: Las Vegas, 1964 is more than yet another brick that paved Bennett’s golden road to musical immortality: it’s an era-defining moment to be treasured for generations.