Tony Lucca at The Roxy, Hollywood
October 19, 2012
photo by me
Tony Lucca opened his set at The Roxy with his take on The Heavy’s song, How You Like Me Now, the song that grabbed hold of my attention when I first noticed Tony competing on The Voice last season, and I must say his performance this Friday night, in the intimate setting that The Roxy provides, far surpassed that initial attention grab, and most certainly set the tone for what would be an incredible, and unforgettable, night of music. Since my introduction to Tony’s music on the previously mentioned musical reality competition show I have been making my way through his albums and finding quite a few favorites that have made their way onto playlists and music mixes for quite a spell of time, some songs of which I was delighted to also hear live on Frida. The night was indeed a melding of Tony’s own songwriting catalog and show-stoppers from The Voice, that may or may not have been the reason for such a packed house. I know from my vantage point near the middle of the stage, I was surrounded by seasoned fans who had followed Tony’s career for quite a while, new fans who delighted in hearing Tony’s stories about Team Adam (Levine) and his famous feud with Christina Aguilera, as well as a few of Tony’s competitors from The Voice amongst us, including one of his openers, Justin Hopkins, who all seemed excited to be there supporting their friend. The song choices seemed to appeal to everyone present, and beyond the actual songs, the performance and energy of the night, was phenomenal, and by far surpassed any expectation I had prior to arriving that night.
Tony is quite a showman, very bigger than life, but also tremendously genuine in his overall stage presence, and in the way he envelops the audience into the show itself. His inclusive way of conversing and acknowledging the crowd – for better or for worse as we witnessed the latter when Tony asked a chatty member of the audience to quiet down (speaking for all of us here) – made the already small venue seem to shrink further in size, at times feeling more like we had gathered in a large living room with Tony and his band, and were all part of the show itself.
When the audience was invited to sing-a-long on songs such as show favorite, and encore, 99 Problems, as well as one of Tony’s own, also a fan favorite, Pretty Things, was enthralling to witness and be a part of; all of us raised together in song, a cacophony of voices and hand clapping, the experience almost overwhelming in such a small space, in a good way. It was absolutely impossible to not feel swept up in the music, and that rush and push of feeling that pulsed through the room was quite a testament to Tony’s talent. This was by far one of the best performances I have been a part of in a long time.
One of my favorite moments was when Tony recalled the notorious battle he had with ex-fellow Mouseketeer, and judge on The Voice, Christina Aguilera, introducing a song he wrote about the experience, reminding us all that he is a songwriter, which honestly is the best revenge. As a writer myself I could not help but smile and think “do not ever piss off a writer” because, well, honestly we will definitely put it into our words, and into our art. The song was powerful, but also I must add, respectful, which was truly impressed me, and spoke volumes to the kind of person Tony is.
Another favorite moment was Tony’s acoustic rendition of his autobiographical song True Story, a favorite of mine from his album Solo. This was another moment of the night where I felt Tony invited and included the audience, bringing them in close, even with a conspiring half-whisper and wink when he thanked Miss Russell, his “high school sweetheart” gone movie star.
I also loved when he invited his friends to join him on-stage (opener Justin Hopkins and Jenni Alpert, as well as Curtis Peoples) for one of my favorite songs of Tony’s, Pretty Things. Justin Hopkins joined him front and center, and at one point kept the song going when Tony fell into a fit of laughter. Everyone was so full of smiles and enthusiasm, which was completely contagious to all of us. The audience swelled with joy and again with raised voices as we all sung along, which once again made for quite a moving musical experience.
Other powerful and memorable moments were when Tony performed another favorite of mine, Death of Me, as well as his blind audition number from The Voice, Trouble, both songs showcasing what an incredibly powerful voice Tony has, and again, what stage presence he exudes. And, of course, his blues and rock-infused take on Britney Spears hit, Baby One More Time (see below), was fantastic.
Tony is an amazing talent and one I encourage you to seek out to see live if you get the chance. He played one hell of a show this past Friday night in Hollywood, reminding me once again of what I love about live music and how being there in the midst of it is one of those moments in life that I feel most alive. I look forward to his new album and what songs and stories are coming next. He is a truly remarkable artist.
Thank you, Tony Lucca, for bringing it on Friday for all of us.
Baby One More Time (live at The Roxy) :: Tony Lucca