Assembly @ Assembly Hall
11 August, 22.05
No one will ever surpass the charm and presence of Sammy, Dino and ol’ Blue Eyes. People try and fail and we are just reminded of the superiority of these three legends.
Therefore, one would be skeptical seeing Jason Isaacs and the Greg Francis Orchestra, thinking this will be another impersonator among many, especially as the billing promises that Jason Isaacs ‘epitomises the Rat Pack era’- Puh-lease.
Firstly, Isaacs is exactly how I expect him to be – cheesy and charming. Although he drinks water instead of whisky and his dancing skills have a lot to answer for, Isaacs and his Geordie accent know exactly how to charm the mature audience.
He sails through Come Fly With Me, and performs a version of Ain’t That a Kick in the Head that would make Dino proud. Greg Francis leads the 12-piece band flawlessly and is an amazing accompaniment to Isaacs’ voice. The orchestra also shows off during a classic rendition of Glen Miller’s In the Mood, proving that this big band is a force to be reckoned with, even without Isaacs.
He strays from Swing and sings a bit of Gershwin and a bit of rock and roll – all classics, even some Elvis covers. Not too much originality in repertoire but lots of energy.
So why five stars? The Ambassadors of Swing snag five stars instead of four for Jason Isaacs’ sheer command of the audience. He has ladies literally dancing in the aisles during his cover of Suspicious Minds and wiping away tears during his penultimate My Way. Hell, I even feel a lump in my throat during his final song, New York, New York. Make room Edinburgh, here comes another star.