By Don Heckman
Los Angeles, The Tenors – all four of them – surged onto the Greek Theatre stage Saturday night with all the panache and enthusiasm of the hot music act they have become. There have been various installments of the quartet since they were originally formed as The Canadian Tenors. But the current members — Fraser Walters, Clifton Murray, Victor Micallef and Remigio Pereira – have mastered the musicality, the humor and the appealing blend of rich, ensemble singing and stylish soloing that are the essence of the Tenors’ identity.
Over the course of two sets, the music roved freely across genres, fully illuminating the Tenors’ far-reaching versatility. Many of the tunes traced to their latest album, Lead With Your Heart. They sang their hit version of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” and countered it with a sort of Elvis Presley imitation on “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”
And there was much more: a delightfully passionate reading of the Spanish classic, “Granada”; the Italian love song, “Caruso”; a song from “Les Miserables”; “Lead With Your Heart,” the title song from the Tenors’ new album, as well as their PBS special.
Add to that a three song medley in which they featured the fine players in their backup group; a Tenors’ reworking of the song “A Woman In Love,” from a male perspective; a soaring “Amazing Grace”; “Anchor Me”; and a climactic “Nessun Dorma.” Nor were they allowed to leave the stage without performing their memorable interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallellujah.”
The melodic leads passed from one singer to another, alternating with the lush harmonic textures of all four voices together. And, because each of the tenors has an individual vocal texture, the solo passages were filled with emotional variation, and the ensemble segments came vividly to life via the colorful blending of sounds.
In addition to their impressive individual and collective musicality, the four tenors also emerged as appealing individuals. Each had a solo segment in which to introduce his background and fully display his individual voicess. They did so with wit and an engaging interaction with their audience. And their listeners, understandably, seemed to respond with even more applause and cheers as they came to know each of the quartet members – beyond their obvious vocal mastery.
They also included a pair of guest artists to their program: singer Rita Wilson and producer/composer/pianist David Foster, both of whom made their unique contributions.
But the evening belonged to The Tenors. To their singing, to their musicality, to their entertaining collection of songs, and to their warm and irresistible amiability.