Fans enjoy extra time with Tony Orlando
By Robert Deckert
Tony Orlando and his band performed for 523 people at the Givens Performing Arts Center on the evening of Sept. 15, according to official ticket count.
Some of the hit songs they were performed were, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree,” “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You),” “Candida,” “Say, Have you Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose” and “Knock Three Times.”
Tony Orlando was featured as part of 2007-2008 Nostalgia Concert Series.
One of Orlando’s band members, keyboardist and vocalist Toni Wine, had previous experiences writing songs and singing “Suspicious Minds” with Elvis Presley and “You Were Always On My Mind” with Willie Nelson.
She had co-written “A Groovy Kind of Love” with Carole B. Sager in 1965.
The song went Number One on the U.S. Billboard Top 100 and the U.K Singles Chart when it was covered by Phil Collins in 1988.
Wine was also noted to have been responsible for the recording of the Meow Mix theme song.
Orlando reminisced about his past achievements and fondest memories.
“It was my dream come true to perform Broadway with my mother in the first row,” he said.
“Do you remember when pleases and thank-yous were normal in the 50s?” he asked the audience.
Orlando sang “Young Blood,” which was a song featured in the musical and theatrical revue, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”
Executive Director of the Givens Performing Art Center Patricia Fields said the audience was surprised with the musical diversity.
The audience came in expecting all of the standard Tony Orlando hits, but they were not only treated to those greats, but also the sounds of Led Zeppelin, WIllie Nelson and Prince’s “Purple Rain,” Fields said.
The concert also served as a bonding experience for family members.
Gayle Bedsole of Fayetteville treated her mother, Jewell Hagmeier, to the Tony Orlando concert as a birthday present.
“I thought they were totally awesome,” Bedsole said.
“I’ll never be the same. My daughter [Bedsole] treated me with this for a birthday present,” Hagmeier said, also of Fayetteville.
Orlando also performed a melody that was written in response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 entitled, “God’s Country.”
During the song, a pattern of the U.S. flag illuminated the wall.
Orlando soon after called for the house lights to be turned on so they could recognize and honor war veterans.
“Where are the World War Two vets?” he asked. “You guys helped save the world.”
He also called for the veterans of the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf wars to be honored.
Orlando also called for any veterans who have served in war currently in Afghanistan and Iraq to stand and be lauded.
Orlando said he wanted the other members of the audience to offer their gratitude to the men and women in the armed forces by praying for them.
“Before you put your heads down to sleep tonight, say a prayer for the young men and women over there in Iraq and Afghanistan and all over the world,” he said.
According to Fields, many of the customes thought it was one the best shows ever performed at GPAC.
UNCP alumnus Ben Thomas, from Aberdeen, said the concert was spectacular and really enjoyable.
Near the end of the show, three of the band members performed an exclusive sound check song called, “Broken Lady.”
Orlando performed other song hits such as “Can’t Buy Me Love,” by The Beatles and “Carolina in My Mind,” by James Taylor.
Mary Owen is a fan that has received media attention for her patronage to Orlando.
She has seen his shows in Smithfield; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Wheeling, W.Va.; and Las Vegas.
She was acknowledged several times throughout the show.
Orlando reacted when his drummer hugged Owen.
“That’s my woman,” Orlando said.