I had no idea I would like Paul Anka’s Friday night show at the IP Casino Resort as much as I did.
Anka is one of the last of the crooners and his voice is as a strong as ever.
Backed by an 11-piece band that included strings and horns, Anka hit the stage at the IP Casino Resort from the back of the house, crooning, “You Are My Destiny” to the capacity crowd as he made his way to the stage, literally singing in the aisles. It would be one of several times Anka sang to the crowd from the seats.
Anka’s set clocked in at just under two hours and it was packed with hits such as “Put Your Head On My Shoulders,” “My Hometown” and “Lonely Boy.”
The show exploded during a piece that started as Anka performing “Do I Love You (Yes, In Every Way)” by himself at the piano before growing into a tight, full-band performance that found its way into the chorus and solo section of “Purple Rain.”
“This is for Prince,” Anka said.
After the show, I told Anka how much I enjoyed his tribute to the late singer and what an honor it had been to see him perform it in Biloxi.
He told me it was the first time the band had played and he asked me what I thought about the arrangement and we chatted about it for a few minutes.
Another chill-inducing moment came late in the show’s third act, which also included “Let Me Try Again” and “My Way,” songs Anka wrote for Frank Sinatra. Before he paid his respects to Sinatra, Anka paid tribute to the late great Sammy Davis Jr.
He sang “I’m Not Anyone” with a taped version of Davis singing the song via a video screen.
Anka closed the night with one of his biggest hits, “Diana.”
Jeff Clark is a staff writer for the Sun Herald.