The depth of a concert experience is determined not just by the hits you wanted to hear, but also by an artist’s ability to personalize a show for an audience.
Gino Vannelli captured the mostly Baby Boomer audience with a crisp, pure vocal talent that was never as obvious in his pop hit songs and he was backed by a talented band that displayed uncompromising commitment to musical perfection.
Gino Vannelli returned to New Orleans, a city that fell in love with him at the very beginning of his career, to celebrate his 60th birthday! It was as if Gino Vannelli had come “home” and his appreciation for the city that helped launch his career was part of his show. At one point, Gino said, “Over the years you have been through a lot – but look at you now!” The crowd applauded Gino and themselves.
The two shows, Friday and Saturday night, at the newly renovated Joy Theater on Canal provided an exhilarating flashback for everyone. But the concert was more than a flashback to a past everyone was excited to remember – Gino Vannelli also gave the audience permission to enjoy who he, and they, have become through the years. His ability to reflect on his early concerts in New Orleans and relate to who he is today made the concert more than just a musical event. The music in his show was spliced with reflective commentary that was inspiring and philosophical and he spoke of a personal spirituality that added meaning to his songs.
Wearing a black leather jacket partially unzipped with black pants and boots, Gino Vannelli looks great today and though matured, still projected an image we all remember. Musically and physically, Gino Vannelli reassured the audience that maturating does not mean getting old – it means reinventing the same person you have always loved.
The audience’s appreciation of Gino made the concert interactive as people, mostly females, shouted things at him in between songs. I heard shouts of “I love you” to “welcome home” to an unexpectedly crude request to have a physical relationship! I also noticed something you don’t often see at concerts today – a number or couples had their arms around each other. That was comforting, because the music of Gino Vannelli always inspired emotion and I imagined some of those same couples were in love years ago when Gino’s hits were on the radio and he was playing his early concerts in New Orleans.
I was very impressed by Gino’s continuing commitment to his vision of his music. The promoter of the concert, who I have known for many years, said, “Scoot, I just can’t figure out why this guy wasn’t even bigger.” I told him I thought Gino Vannelli is too vocally and musically talented for a mass pop audience. Throughout his career, he was more dedicated to the music in his soul than a goal of creating a pop radio hit. Vannelli definitely possesses an esoteric side and he is so diverse that it’s difficult to define his music into a convenient genre.
When Gino Vannelli was a young artist attracting a massive crowd in New Orleans, I was a young disc jockey playing those early hits like “I Just Want to Stop,” “Powerful People” and “People Gotta Move.” Seeing him on stage and then having a brief moment with him after the show brought back wonderful memories for me, but more importantly, it reminded me that you can mature and never lose the core of who you are or lose that special zest to live life with a young attitude!
After the show Saturday night I am a bigger fan of Gino Vannelli than I was then! This was my first time in the newly renovated Joy Theater and it is a sensational venue with an impeccable sound system.
I hope the audience appreciated the Gino Vannelli I saw on stage. Beyond his excellent voice, there was a man who represented appreciation for his past, present and future, and a man who was proud to talk about being married to his wife for 38 years! That’s an accomplishment, especially in the world of music.
Thanks for the Gino Blog! I've been following Gino since the sell out concert at the Municipal Auditorium. Every time Gino comes to New Orleans I have to go see Him. The Joy Theater was an incredible Venue!
more than a concert!
Hi there, so glad I ran across your Blog! your post about Gino's Birthday concert Saturday night is so well written & definitely true.....all us baby boomers there enjoying the music that we loved ( and still do of course) so much in our younger years. We had a similar experience at the Gino Concert in NOLA that you wrote about....some of the songs he did sing brought back a flood of memories .The 500 miles we drove each way was well worth the wonderful performance by Gino and his band. Gino's music was very important in my husband and my dating days, and it is still today. We look forward to going to another Gino Vannelli concert in the future. I saw Gino in concert 34 years ago in Charleston, West Virginia. He was my heart throb then & still is to this day! nice to know that he is still married to the wife of his youth & has a grown son:) thanks again for that wonderful post you wrote....i'm sure so many feel the same way!
Going to a Gino Vannelli concert was one of those things I've always wanted to do befoe I die; going to a concert during his 60th birthday would have been even more special. Anyway, I am so happy to know that the concert in New Orleans went great and that Gino is still going strong. I'm hoping to catch one of his shows in Ontario later in the year. Thanks also for noting his 38-year marriage; that's a miracle and a story in and of itself!
More than a concert!
I posted earlier on your blog & forgot to add that I think Gino was celebrating his 61st birthday....(correct me if I'm wrong) another thing I'll add,,,, only wish I could have met Gino....lucky if you did! maybe next concert I'll be lucky! Belva Cangelosi, Conway Arkansas
I love you Gino
I was one of the "females" in the front row that you heard shout I love you Gino. Why, because I have loved him since the late 70's. I was overjoyed to hear his vocals have gotten even better over the years and those bunns are still HOT, HOT, HOT. So it he..........just darn sexy. I wish he would play more in the states.
Correction is correct
Indeed, our Gino, turned 61 on June 15.
You truly captured the aura of the performances with you words. So glad to be there with my love, my husband of 27 years.
Gino the Great
My sister and I attended the concert Saturday night. Her and I are both huge fans of Gino. He has truly gotten better over the years. We first saw him many many years ago at the Municipal Auditorium. His music is like no other. Our hope is he continues to visit our great city. Her and I will be there. Loved your article Scoot.
No one like Gino
First job at 17 I bought Powerful People at a record shop on Canal St. Some 40 years later I hear him sing & he's even better than ever in every way! I am still singing & listening to Gino! Absolutely loved Fridays concert. Only regret is Ididn't attend on Saturday as well! Denise M from Covington