“You’re about to see something that hasn’t been seen on this planet.”
By Kyle Poluyko
It’s a rare occurrence when a manager takes to the stage of a sold-out show before his artists to address the audience. That’s exactly what Jeffrey Latimer did Wednesday night at the Community Auditorium, to say that this city was chosen to launch the Under One Sky North American tour because of its people, its culture, its signature venue – where they arrived a week in advance – to create a show that will be seen by millions. Then the lights went down and The Tenors emerged in silhouette to a reverberant and fervent standing ovation.
The gentlemen – Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray, Remigio Pereira, and Fraser Walters – opened their two-set show with a stunning interpretation of “Bésame Mucho” followed by the passionate “Lead With Your Heart,” the title song from their previous studio album. A contemporary and thoroughly emotional rendition of “How Great Thou Art” stirred a tearful audience. In fact, the evening was replete with emotional highlights. “You Are So Beautiful” was delivered in front of LED panels which played a tribute to The Tenors’ mothers. “Drowning In Love,” from their Spring-released and recently certified gold Under One Sky album, was a fiery and colourful performance.
A sensationally executed and sonorous cover of Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever” opened the second half of the show, with Murray and Walters singing above the stage in opposite loges. “My Father’s Son,” an original tune from their new album, gave another poignant tribute to The Tenors’ dads. In celebration of Luciano Pavarotti and Elvis Presley, who both would have turned 80 this year, a vibrant and eclectic medley of the icons’ most recognizable songs electrified the house, and an astonishing performance of “Nessun Dorma” brought the audience to its feet once more.
There is simply no denying that The Tenors are bountifully talented, each a with rich, distinctive voice. Together they have remarkable chemistry and deliver staggering harmonies. Micallef and Pereira are the more classically trained singers. Their voices are skilled in sound and dialect, effortlessly transporting an audience to courtyard of a casa in Spain or a piazza in Italy. Pereira soloed on an impassioned tune which he wrote with his mother, true to his Portuguese roots, in memory of his father. Sharing with the audience the difficulty of leaving family behind to tour, Micallef stunningly performed “Con Te Partiro” (Time To Say Goodbye), supported by the St. Ignatius Children’s Choir who made numerous appearances throughout the two-hour show.
Walters and Murray perhaps may have more the musical theatre voices in the quartet, gently geared towards pop, and certainly assure the group’s cross-over success. Theirs are the voices find that tender, vulnerable spot in everyone. Walters sat down at a Wurlitzer, with delicate yet soaring vocals, to offer The Beatles’ “Something,” the song that played as his wife walked down the aisle. Murray’s solo, a beautifully haunting interpretation of “To Make You Feel My Love” was his acknowledgement of those who never gave up on him. The experience of Murray’s voice – its intensity and full sound – is like racing through the sky, extending a hand and glancing a smooth, crystal heaven. If there was a thought that The Tenors couldn’t possibly do more vocally, Murray elevates it a step higher.
“It never gets old,” said Walters of making their fifth return to Thunder Bay. “The energy we feel from you is awesome. You’re always an incredible audience.” As the evening drew to a close and became even more intimate, Micallef, Murray, Pereira, and Walters delivered an acoustic version of what may be their emblematic song, “Hallelujah,” and brought an emotive and ecstatic audience to its feet once more. Hallelujah, indeed.
The Tenors kicked off their 70-city North American tour at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on Wednesday night. They will play venues across Canada and the United States through the end of February 2016.