Roman Candle: The Ultimate Bobby Darin Experience starring Charlie Romo
The Green Room 42, NYC, June 28th, 2019
Reviewed by Chris Struck
Romo was back and better than ever. This time he debuted his Bobby Darin show, a project in the making for quite a while. Anyone who’s seen him before has heard him preach about the inspiration Darin has been for him, and heard him often quoting the line, “I want to be the biggest there’s ever been by 25.” And yet, those brief shout outs to the Italian star that burned so bright for too short a time (i.e. a “Roman Candle”) were merely foreshadowing to the great tribute to Darin put on by one of today’s most promising crooners, Romo. The young star took to the stage to share the story of Darin’s life with the man’s own songs in a classic example of a well-researched, run, and rehearsed cabaret.
Songs like “Splish Splash” and “Beyond the Sea” were ample starters, blending into the myriad of stellar performances by Romo. The performer worked the stage, jived to the music, and practically conducted everything from saxophone entrances to cymbal smashes along with the movements of his seven-piece band. The result? Bathed in adoration from an enormous crowd, Romo’s energy was unstoppable. One of his classic choices, “Mack the Knife” became merely a strong moment among strong moments when any other time it might have been a sure highlight.
Instead, the greatest highlights were of “Dream Lover,” which Romo introduced as if he was Darin trying out a hook for his band, “18 Yellow Roses,” “Once Upon a Time,” and “The Curtain Falls.” His performances were so thrilling and gripping that it would be remiss to pick out a single line, but “Once upon a time a girl with moonlight in her eyes Put her hand in mine and said she loved me so” did well to highlight the love Darin had for Sandra Dee.
Another incredible moment as we walked through Bobby’s rock, swing, and country careers (singing “Simple Song of Freedom”), was when he pulled out an unreleased Bobby Darin single written by a member of the audience, Jack Urbant, called “Manhattan in my Heart.” Romo’s powerful voice and love for the same hometown New York, wowed the audience in the lines, “I’ve seen it get dark form the top of the mark…I’ve got Manhattan in my heart.”
Charlie Romo’s band included pianist, Jeff Harris; bassist, Jon Burr; drummer, Howie Gordon; guitarist, Jack Cavari; saxophonist, Steven Frieder; trumpeter, Tony Gorruso; and Malec Heermans played trombone. Look out old Romo will be back with his Darin show soon.