LOS ANGELES -- In her first public performance since the death of her
legendary dad, Nancy Sinatra proved that her boots are still made for walking and her
voice for singing as she appeared Monday at the House of Blues to perform '60s pop hits
and covers of such artists as the Doors and Bob Dylan.
The public, the press and celebrities turned out to see Nancy onstage for the first time
since Frank Sinatra died May 14.
Besides catching the 58-year-old daughter of Ol' Blue Eyes exhibiting some of the same
spirit that made her father a legend, the 1,000 gathered got a first-hand view of a bizarre
intersection of pop cultural worlds.
The event itself was a benefit for the Heart of a Child Foundation by way of a party for the
fifth annual World Polo Championships, with separate performances by Nancy -- who's
best known for her pop hit "These Boots Are Made For Walkin' " -- and a revamped
lineup of the Temptations. But there were also celebrity cameos by the likes of television
actors Stefanie Powers and Byron Allen, as well as former O.J. Simpson houseboy Kato
The charity was barely mentioned, and a video about the organization was mostly
ignored as the audience swilled free tequila, talked horses and generally tried to get
down and rock out in an old-money sort of way.
"There's a lot of drunk rich people here," said Jared Macon, 24, of Los
Angeles, who came to see Nancy's performance.
Given the garish nature of the event, Nancy managed to shine amid the hype and
hoopla. As five television crews filmed her performance, the petite platinum-blonde
strutted her stuff. Hair clipped behind her ears, wearing black spandex capris and a
loose, fuchsia satin shirt, Nancy looked almost girlish in front of her seven-piece band.
At her best, Nancy displayed the same ability to inhabit a song as her father, making you
believe that the song is their own, even when it seems so far removed from them that it
almost might come off as comical.
Her rendition of Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" swelled with power and heart as she
sang "So how does it feel/ to be on your own/ a complete unknown." Her sincerity with
the socially conscious lyrics came across as utterly convincing, not an easy feat given
that Nancy was born in the spotlight.
Her show consisted of old standards and '60s pop hits, including the Doors' "Light My
Fire," the James Bond movie theme "You Only Live Twice" and "Drummer Man," a song
she made popular. She slowed most songs down, her husky voice carrying the
sultriness and casual innuendo of torch singer Peggy Lee. In many ways, it was like the
Las Vegas revues that Nancy's famous dad became known for in his later years.
And Frank was clearly not far from her mind as she returned to the stage. At one point,
Nancy sang "For My Dad," never losing her composure.
During "Good Time Girl," a cleverly edited video of her movies played on
the monitors. Scenes with actors Peter Fonda, Diane Ladd and even the King, Elvis
Presley, were cut together to match the song's lyrics. Judging by the clips, she never won
any acting awards, but she could go-go dance with the best of 'em. As she closed with
her trademark song,
"These Boots Are Made For Walkin' " (RealAudio excerpt), she seemed
slightly bored, but the audience loved it.
There was a long break to take care of World Polo Championship business before the
'60s R&B band the Temptations played. Later, polo players from six countries stood
onstage and drew lots from a hat held by Playboy's July 1998 bunny.
Eventually, the Temptations came on, backed by a full horn section. The music was right
on and they didn't miss a synchronized step while performing their hits. The strength of
the songs, including "Ain't Too Proud To Beg," "Just My Imagination," "The Way You Do
The Things You Do,"
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Temptations,_The/Papa_Was_A_Rolling_Stone.ram">"Papa Was A Rolling Stone"
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Temptations,_The/Papa_Was_A_Rolling_Stone.ram">"Papa Was A Rolling Stone"(RealAudio excerpt) and "My Girl," was
undeniable and got the remaining crowd dancing.
However, with only one original member, Otis Williams, it seemed more like a talented
cover band than a piece of pop history.
The fifth annual World Polo Championships -- the prestigious sport played on horseback
-- are being held in nearby Santa Barbara next week. To spur on the event, the
organization threw the party, which doubled as a benefit for the Heart of a Child
Foundation. The foundation raises money for research into congenital heart defects.
"I'm here for the drugs and sex," said a 50-ish man, who declined to give his name.