I've never really been convinced by Frankie before, but this four-CD set captures the Guv'nor at his persuasive best, by capturing him in his most natural environment, the Las Vegas casino lounge. Included are shows from 1961 and 1966 at The Sands (which Sinatra co-owned), 1978 and 1982 at Caesars Palace, and 1987 at the Golden Nugget; and though the later performances are slightly clotted with nostalgia, the earlier shows are replete with brio and good humour. What's particularly notable, in contrast to his studio recordings, is how relaxed and self-deprecating Sinatra can be when surrounded by sozzled punters, sending himself up with deliberate mispronunciations and ad-libbed comments. By 1966, the politically incorrect digs at Sammy Davis's Judaism have been joined by the kind of flip drug references that few would attempt today. But his delivery is impeccable even at its most comical or experimental, a series of masterclasses in cabaret command.
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