March 9, 2001 - Las Vegas, Nevada
I wish to open with a special thanks to Vito and Dan for this wonderful web site. It’s been fun to read, nostalgic (‘Blast From the Past’ really starts some great memories flowing), informative (I Have ordered Vikki’s music - several CDs that I never knew existed). But mostly, it has reunited me with a wonderful lady. I’ve been a huge fan since the sixties, and though I’d never met her, I’ve come to regard her in a way as a dear friend, whom I’d lost touch with in recent years, and have really missed. She’s my sweetheart, and I’m glad she’s back. But if you think about it, from Canada to the Straits of Magellan, she Really Is America’s sweetheart - Vikki Carr!
After learning from the ‘Vikki’s Schedule’ page of this fantastic web site that she was going to be in Las Vegas on March 9th, quicker than Sherlock Holmes I deduced that March would be a great month to take a Vegas vacation! I logged onto tickets.com, clicked the box that means ‘get me the best seat you got’, and it responded with 2nd row center - Perfect! This Internet thing is ok - I’m glad Al Gore invented it! I flew in a week early and spent the week experiencing the new Las Vegas in all its splendor. What a great town! On Thursday, I saw a show at the MGM Grand called EFX. It was a show staring Rick Springfield, featuring wall-to-wall incredible and spectacular special effects, from performers in harnesses flying high above the stage, to magic, to pyrotechnics, even a 3D segment where you put on those goofy 3D glasses. It really was a mind-blowing, terrific show, and I recommend it to anyone going to Las Vegas.
Well, that was ok for a warm up act, but the main event was Friday night. If you really want to entertain an audience, just put Vikki on a stage with a half-dozen fine musicians, and let her sing for 90 minutes. No need for special effects, no pyrotechnics required or desired. She will thrill and enchant an audience the old fashioned way - with Talent! These days, what a concept!
This show was a Whitman’s Sampler of songs from her albums of the sixties all the way through y2k. There were a lot of fun and upbeat songs, such as ‘Spanish Harlem’ or ‘Them There Eyes’. Whenever she performed a song from the sixties, I could detect no difference in that wonderful voice at all from her recordings of over 30 years ago. Truly amazing! But it’s when she sings those beautiful and emotional ballads (Yesterday When I Was Young, Mirror Mirror), that Vikki is absolutely in a class by herself! You can see those beautiful brown eyes get a little misty as she not just sings, but lives, the lyrics. No other singer - ever - puts so much heart and soul into a song. She will make you laugh with a funny story about how she came to record ‘With Pen in Hand’. But then she sings it. And she will break your heart! And though you know she’s performed this song a thousand times, you will swear on your great granny’s grave that you’ve just heard her sing it for the first time. Absolutely Awesome! This is why you come back to see her again and again. This is why you pay the big bucks to sit up front. She gives it all she’s got - every song - every time! Vikki Carr - such a class act!
She concluded with ‘Somos Novios’ sung a capella - and the last song from her magnificent Christmas album - ‘The Prayer’. This song gets my vote for the greatest song she has ever recorded (Wow)! The audience was great, and showed their appreciation with two standing ovations at the end. Vikki’s style is so unique, and she has attained a level of excellence so incredibly high, that this lady’s talent is one for the ages, and comes once in a lifetime. It’s such a privilege to see her live in concert, and when one of those precious few chances to do so comes along, it is truly something to be savored and cherished. Thank you Vikki, so very much, for four decades of great, great music - you are so special!!
Well, this concert was so good that by this time I couldn’t remember how to even spell EFX. But it was NOT the highlight of my vacation. The highlight was that, in a stroke of just pure dumb Las Vegas luck (don’t ask, it’s a long story), I briefly and unexpectedly got the chance to Meet Vikki for the first time after the show! She was as gracious, charming, and nice as anyone could ever ask. I, of course, was totally star-struck and tongue-tied, but very very thrilled! What a great vacation! Only in Las Vegas ... oh man, what was I thinking? I shoulda hit the roulette wheel while I was still on a roll !!!
Michael Whalen, Virginia
Vito Cifaldi, Kathryn Robinson and Allen Hurt at Vikki's Vegas Concert.
Gloria Dillon, Vito Cifaldi and Valerie Powell in Las Vegas, 2001.
March 9, 2001 - Las Vegas, Nevada
After waiting weeks with great anticipation, the day finally arrived for me to wing my way to Las Vegas. You must understand, I'm one of those people that has an uncanny fear of flying, but I wasn't about to let that stop me from seeing our beloved Vikki Carr. After arriving in Vegas and hooking up with my 2 buds, Allen and Vito, we were off to the hotel. What an awesome place - but I was disappointed that I did not see Vikki's name on the neon board outside. It was explained to me that it was a moving sign and was always changing names. Sure enough her name came up along with her picture. Wondering what to do to while away the hours before Vikki's show we decided to explore the hotel and casino. We found the Railhead Saloon where Vikki would be appearing - it was all quiet. We decided to gamble for a while, but before long we heard the unmistakable voice of Vikki Carr rehearsing. Of course we had to steal a couple of peeks and it hit home that yes, Vikki was there. The time FINALLY arrived for the show to go on and true to form, Vikki started her show on time. She came out looking more gorgeous than ever, wearing a black shimmering pants suit with beige trim and a pair of black shoes we gals would die for. She was also sporting a new hair style, a little shorter but not too short and it was streaked, very becoming. I was fortunate enough to be sitting in seat 1, row 2, and could see Vikki's eyes, and they were sparking like black diamonds - what a beautiful sight. Vikki started her first song and just suddenly stopped saying "this isn't right so I'm going off stage and when I come back you will forget I was ever here." I thought to myself, she is in a playful mood - so we are in for a night to remember because there was nothing wrong with her opening song, except for the fact that the crowd was rather slow in responding to her. I think everyone was in such awe of actually seeing her that we were afraid if we carried on too much we would wake up and she wouldn't be there - nothing like that the second time around. Vikki went back in time for her songs and I swear she sounds better now then when she first recorded the songs. The crowd was a mixture of young adults, middle age and senior citizens, and she was loved by all. When Vikki sang "The Prayer" I glanced around and did not see a dry eye. Who else brings out this type of emotion but Vikki Carr?
Kathryn Robinson, Forth Worth, Texas
Special thanks to Michael Whalen for the photos of Vikki's Vegas Concert.
An Evening with Vikki Carr - Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
March 11, 2001
For months I waited for the big day and it finally came. The days preceding Vikki's concert were filled with joy and excitement. I had seen her perform three times before (once on the same stage) but we had not been to one of her concerts in almost three years. Finally, the lights dimmed in the hall. There was a near capacity crowd of 1,650 to 1,700 people from all walks of life, a sign of Vikki's international fan base. The evening's opening act, a young comedian named Carlos Oscar delighted and brought the house down during his 45 minute set. Then her name was announced and out she came, looking as gorgeous as ever, we had great seats, fourth row, so we had full visibility. Emotions overflowed. Her opening song was very upbeat. I believe the title is "I Only Sing Of Love", the audience responded beautifully. She announced that she finally been convinced to mount a tribute to her career and she announced that she would be performing her favorite songs. I realized I was, along with my wife, in for an unforgettable evening.
Vikki proceeded to put her personal styling to "Yesterday, When I Was Young" and "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", both brought tears to my eyes. These are songs Vikki had recorded thirty years ago and I never thought I would get to see her perform them live. Among the other songs she performed were: "You Belong to my Heart", "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" and "What A Difference A Day makes" from her PBS TV special "Memories, Memorias", a rousing Judy Garland tribute/medley "The Man That Got Away/Over the Rainbow", "Spanish Harlem" in duet her very talented conductor, as well as her hits "With Pen In Hand", "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" and her perennial "It Must Be Him" after which she received a standing ovation. She sang "Adoro" and "Somos Novios" from her 1972 En Espanol album and her 1981 hit "Total" a capella and another ovation followed. She closed her show with a very touching "The Prayer".
Vikki is now singing better than ever before, vocally she is as strong as she was decades ago. She is a beautiful and talented woman who can make you feel she is singing only to you and you alone. Vikki has paved the way for a lot of the younger Hispanics in the music world today, opening doors and doing things that were revolutionary by the day's standards. She is the epitome of talent and artistry and class, with impeccable taste for songs. After the concert the thrill and dream of a lifetime became reality. We got to meet the legend herself personally backstage. We were in such awe and so impressed that Vikki is so warm and charming and very gracious, and still a knocker at 60 come July!!! She very patiently posed for pictures with us, proof that down-to-earth celebrities exist, and to say the least, that Vikki Carr has been and will always be "One Hell Of A Woman". Vito and Ron DeBlasio, Muchisimas Gracias for your tremendous generosity of spirit. You are two fine gentleman and we will always be indebted to you, specially Vito, who does one hell of a job with this well deserving website for "The Legend...Vikki Carr".
Edyn & Isabel Lopez, Santa Ana, CA
Isabel, Vikki and Edyn at the Cerritos Centere
March 30, 2001 - San Jose, California
My daughter and I attended Vikki’s show March 30 at Lou’s Village in San Jose. Wow! I haven’t seen Vikki in some 20+ years, and it was like time had never gone by. She looks fabu-lous, and her voice is just as strong, lush, and resonant as ever. The show was well-paced and included some of her big hits, songs from the 60’s, and some songs she did for the PBS special, Memories Memorias. Bill & Mary, her backup, keyboard and every-other-instrument-under-the-sun players, not only sing and play superbly, they do it all without missing a thing going on around them. Vikki still commands the best. She’s as timeless and ageless as ever. Her opening number, “I Sing Only Of Love” set the audience for a night of love songs, Vikki’s signature.
Spanish Harlem has always been one of my (how can I even choose?) favorites - and the harmony they sang on that song was to die for . . . in fact it took two times around to satisfy the audience, who couldn’t get enough. So many great songs, all with the unique and unparalleled treatment and delivery only Vikki can give. It was a trip to the past, along with the realization that she’s as popular currently as ever. No wonder!
There was one small hitch in the evening involving a woman sitting towards the front who interrupted Vikki’s lead-in to the beautiful Judy Garland number, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It took about 4 times to get through to the laughing (too much wine, I think) woman that she was disrupting the show. But Vikki handled it like the professional she is. And then Vikki told of the incident many years before where she had ended up calling her dad - you all know the story - and the audience applauded enthusiastically - they really could relate and wanted to let Vikki know the rest of us were not only listening, but loving her and the show. I hope Vikki got that message. With over 330 enthusiastic people in the joined banquet rooms, one thoughtless person wasn’t about to spoil it. Songs like The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and many others were great to hear again. The audience was fascinated.
The people sitting at my table were asking questions all night about Vikki, her hits, where she now lived, etc., and one lady who had just moved was trying to find her boxes of Vikki’s records since the move. The evening was for fundraising so it wasn’t the typical show setting, but the audience really liked Vikki, even some who had not seen her before. And even though we didn’t get to see her personally or get a group picture, I feel quite fortunate to have seen her show live once again. I hope she comes back to San Jose soon. She still lights up a stage with class and talent impossible to find anywhere else. My own daughter, just 20, was just as impressed. It’s an experience everyone should have.
San Manuel's Csino, Highland California- June 9, 2001
A "Fantabulous" Night with a Legend
Experience a Vikki Carr concert and you'll never be the same. It's taken me a couple of days to recover from all the excitement and joy of watching her perform. We left for the show a little later than I had planned and we arrived at San Manuel's Casino in Highland, Ca. to find a long line of Vikki's fans waiting out front to get in. But it didn't take long for us to finally get to our seats. I looked around, and didn't see an empty seat, the place was packed!
It was a roller coaster ride, a fun filled night of ups & downs. First, there was the sounds of slot machines coming from the back. I noticed some people kept looking back, me too, as if we wanted to shoot the darn things because they were rather distracting during the beginning of the show. But as Vikki and the band continued playing, it was as if those machines had vanished. I was captivated by her angelic voice & wonderful personality.
Then, one of the speaker monitors started crackling and was throwing off the stereo sound. While the show went on, the stage hands were working frantically to fix the problem. But soon after the problem arose, they were able to restore the sound to it's original vibrancy, for a few more songs. The technical difficulties continued, this time it was the microphone. Mid-way in a song, the "mic" completely went out, but Vikki, being the Pro that she is, continued singing without it! You could still hear her powerful voice over the music coming from the loud speaker monitors! What a trooper! They finished the song that way, and the audience appreciated her even more with grand applause. Vikki switched mic's and continued with a few more songs and introducing the band.
Then, as they were about to start another song, you guessed it, more tech diffs. The band did their intro, and as Vikki raised her microphone to start singing, nothing came out. Like a conductor, she motioned with one hand and the band cut the music simultaneously-they didn't fade off one by one. Vikki shook that naughty microphone and held it back like a quarterback as if she was going to throw it for a "Hail Mary" (reminiscent of Al Bundy). The crowd roared with laughter, not at Vikki, but with her. She improvised so well and handled the "gremlin situation" with such poise and graceful humor, She's GREAT! What possibly could have been a showbiz nightmare, Vikki turned it around into an entertaining dream come true....
I was able to make my way close enough to present Vikki with a gift of my own, a hand-drawn portrait of the King of R&R, Elvis Presley. When I saw Vikki face to face, I felt I was in the presence of royalty, I was stunned with awe! She unveiled the blue suede matted, framed artwork, and told of meeting and knowing Elvis, and receiving two glamorous rings from him (please read Ritmo article in this website). She's a wonderful storyteller, eloquent and elegant in every way. Charming, funny, talented & smart. A wonderful personality that is only surpassed by her radiant beauty. She thanked me for the gift, shook my hand, and allowed me to kiss her on the cheek!! THANK YOU Vikki for an unforgettable night, I will cherish this "Memory/Memoria" forever.
And, Vito, from the bottom of mi corazon, THANK YOU for making all this possible!! FANTABULOUS!!
Joseph Quintanar , West California
Vikki wearing her Elvis star diamond ring
Del Mar Fair, Del Mar CA - July 1
Vikki Carr At Del Mar Has Garnered More Than One Ovation… Yes, folks, that’s the news line that would be on Internet banners and newspaper headlines as well. I’m informing you on what happened at Vikki’s recent smash concert date in Del Mar, California. It was the crème de la crème as far as Fair dates go!
It was a nice Sunday evening at dusk with a wonderful California sunset settling over the concert stage and Fair Grandstand. It was so exciting to see Vikki in California again. (This kind of event in California and all takes me back to the old days of concerts and all that EXCITEMENT. Not that it was that long ago, mind you; it’s more of a feeling.) It just does my heart good to attend a concert (by none other than) at least once a year.
Finally, the time came for Vikki to walk out on stage and it was electric. The crowd was huge due to the fact, in part, that it was a Dia de la familia-07/01/01 day. We all cheered as Vikki started singing – " I Sing Of Love". Well, she did just that and she got an enormous amount of love back. Vikki had a new outfit I hadn’t seen before that was very smart. She wore a dark salmon colored sequined jacket over a black blouse and pants. She looked beautiful with, yes, that wonderful California sunset as her backdrop. Vikki did her great "retro" show, but with a few substitutions that were great.
I love this show because I would have never heard these older songs sung live (which is Vikki at her best) because they were released long ago. So it’s like hearing and seeing her perform them for the first time which is very special. I loved "Real Live Boy" and "Look At That Face". And her version of "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" really, is so surreal for me; I mean it really takes me into a really neat place. Anyway, the audience couldn’t help but ask for Spanish songs and Vikki complied with singing "Total" a cappella. They also were ecstatic about her tour de force "Ya Lo Se Que Tu Te Vas". I love her talking before "Mirror". I think her saying that -if we count on what the media tells us about how we should look and portray our image, we are in a lot of trouble- shows her tremendous compassionate nature. Her singing of this song with just piano accompaniment is really very extraordinary.
Other favorites of mine are: "Anyone who had a Heart" and "Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You". The crowd had assembled themselves right in front of the stage where there were no seats only pavement to sit on or stand; there was no room left and the grandstand was filled as well. Then came the time for Vikki to sing her signature song-"It Must Be Him" and receive her first standing ovation. Then she was brought back to sing the great song duet with Bill Canto-"The Prayer"! Once again, another standing ovation and Vikki was moved to come back and sing- a very moving song for her and everyone-"Por Amor". Just watching her sing it is all about ‘love’! And yet a third ovation and the audience were still asking for more.
I’m sure that Vikki was very, very happy with the love reception she received; after the second ovation she murmured-"I needed this". I was and am truly happy for her and us as well. Her immediate family was there: her sisters and families and friends and her mom. I’m sure that it will go down as a night to always remember. I know I will!
Ray Sotomayor, Tuscon, AZ