Review & Set List: Engelbert Humperdinck @ Palais Theatre, Melbourne

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

They don’t make stars like Engelbert Humperdinck anymore. Once upon a time fame came from talent, not celebrity and Engelbert Humperdinck is one of the greatest talents of the past half a century. To be in the presence of a star like Engelbert Humperdinck is to be in the presence of greatness.

Engelbert is a few years shy of the 50th anniversary of his first hit Release Me (1967) but over the course of a two-hour show gives the audience a lifetime of memories.

Engelbert’s hit songs like The Last Waltz, After The Lovin', There Goes My Everything, A Man Without Love and Am I That Easy To Forget are some of the greatest hits of all time and essential to the show. Release Me kept The Beatles' Penny Lane from going to number one ending a consecutive run of number ones for the Fab Four started in their early days. However, it’s the new songs that give an Engelbert show its 21st century relevance.

Just as he was championed by Dean Martin at the start of his career Engelbert Humperdinck recognises new talent coming through and acknowledges Ed Sheeran as one of the great talents of today who will be around in 50 years from now. Engelbert performs Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud as part of his 2015 show in his own unique style taking the young Sheeran’s work to a whole new audience.

Ed Sheeran is attached to Elton John’s management company and Engelbert also links to his long-time friend Elton with their duet Something About The Way You Tonight synched with Elton’s voice for the show. The song was the nucleus of his previous album Engelbert Calling.

Engelbert’s new album Runaway Country is also showcased in the show. For Runaway Country Engelbert returns to his country roots. The title track Runaway is one of the finest moments in song Engelbert has recorded in years and proudly sits inside the 2015 setlist as a highlight of the show.

The new album also features Engelbert interpretations of Boz Scaggs’ stunning Look What You’ve Done To Me and Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire. The Scaggs song sounds tailor-made for Engelbert’s romantic style. He has a lot of fun with the Springsteen song, donning the cowboy hat and attempting to line-dance for the number.

The 2015 Engelbert Humperdinck show is different from the previous tours. There is a funny and well placed Kardashian comment, an hilarious video with Eddie Izzard about how he got his name and historic footage from a Dean Martin Show showing a young Engelbert at the start of his career in what may very well be the first time the world saw him endorsed by a prior legend.

Enjoy Engelbert in 2015. He will be back. As he told me in an interview earlier this week “why would I retire? What else would I do?”

Engelbert Humperdinck setlist, Melbourne, October 29, 2015:

Main Set
  • Overture
  • Another Time Another Place
  • Am I That Easy To Forget
  • Unforgettable
  • A Man Without Love
  • After The Lovin’
  • Quando Quando Quando
  • The Hungry Years
  • Something About The Way You Look Tonight
  • Look What You’ve Done To Me
  • Thinking Out Loud
  • Runaway
  • The Power of Love
  • I’m On Fire
  • How I Love You
  • The Last Waltz
  • Medley:
  • This Moment In Time
  • The Way It Used To Be
  • Les Bicyclettes
  • There Goes My Everything
  • Spanish Eyes
  • Release Me
Encore
  • For The Good Times
Photo: Ros O'Gorman

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