Tony Bennett Will Perform First Show Since Sharing Alzheimer's Diagnosis
And he's taking the stage with a longtime collaborator.
This legendary singer isn't taking his final bow just yet. As reported by the New York Post, Tony Bennett will be performing a live show for the first time since his Alzheimer's diagnosis was publicly revealed. The performance will see Bennett teaming up once again with Lady Gaga, with whom he released the 2014 album Cheek to Cheek. The pair recorded a second album of duets before Bennett and his family shared the news of his condition, but it's yet to be released.
Bennett and Gaga's new concert is coming up very soon, however. Read on to find out more about the surprise show, their new music, and the status of 94-year-old Bennett's health.
You may soon be able to watch Bennett and Gaga's performance from home.
The New York Post reports that their show will take place in New York City on Friday, July 2 as part of MTV Unplugged. According to the publication, the ticketing website 1iota read, "Come witness a new chapter in Unplugged's history as Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga grace the Unplugged stage for the first time, performing fresh renditions off their brand new Jazz standards album—and a handful of surprises you definitely won't want to miss." There's no indication yet of when the taping of the show might air.
1iota offers a sign-up where fans can register to become eligible for free audience tickets. While this option is still listed, the page appears to have been edited. The webpage that read "Free Tickets to MTV Unplugged featuring Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett" now redirects to a page that says the show is simply "featuring Special Guests" with no mention of Bennett or Gaga. Best Life has reached out to 1iota for comment.
Attendees have to follow COVID protocol.
The 1iota listing explains that those attending the show will either need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and show proof of that or provide negative test results received the morning of the show. Masks will be optional and the venue will be at full capacity.
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This is a major return to the stage for Bennett.
In February, Bennett's wife, Susan Benedetto, revealed to the public that the singer had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016. She shared with AARP the Magazine that "when he sings, he's the old Tony." Bennett's neurologist, Gayatri Devi, MD, told the magazine that she recommended that Bennett keep singing and performing, because the emotional connections Alzheimer's patients have to music can help tap into memories. "It kept him on his toes and also stimulated his brain in a significant way," Devi said. The doctor also explained, "He is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia cannot do. He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder."
The Friday show will be Bennett's first return to the stage in over a year. Bennett's last show was on Mar. 11, 2020, the day COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. According to the AARP article, he has continued to practice music twice a week with his pianist.
Bennett and Gaga have new music on the way.
At the time that Bennett's Alzheimer's diagnosis was announced, it was also revealed that Gaga and Bennett were working on a new album and had been since 2018. The AARP article describes footage from one of their recording sessions in which Gaga became emotional watching Bennett sing and trying to connect with him over memories of their 2015 tour. "Gaga looks on, from behind her mic, her smile breaking into a quiver, her eyes brimming, before she puts her hands over her face and sobs," the story reads.
It's unclear when exactly the album will be released, though, per AARP, it's scheduled to come out sometime in the spring. Perhaps the release date will be revealed soon now that Gaga and Bennett are performing together live once again.