Set in a bar in the early 1960s, “New Jersey Nights” brought the sounds of Frakie Valli and the Four Seasons to Brighton over the Easter Weekend.
The production showcases the hits of the band, and Frankie Valli’s solo tracks from the early 1960s right up to their most recent recordings. From early close harmony pop to more funky and rock and roll numbers from the 1970s and 80s, the four singers and their band had much of the audience up and dancing.
The show was, however, stuck somewhere between a tribute act and a full-blown show, without really being either. The band was mostly hidden at the back of the stage as if it wasn’t there, apart from the odd number which featured their saxophone or guitar player, whilst it was still acknowledged that it was there and still in full view, suited up in order to retain a coherent image. There was a small troop of background dancers who joined in on many numbers, but on the songs when they weren’t dancing they seemed to be milling around onstage, or half playing background characters.
Along with the music of the Four Seasons (As it’s Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, doesn’t that mean there should have been 5 of them in total?) The show also showcased the music of some of the acts which were closely associated with them in the 60s- other bands which profited from Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”, such as the Crystals and the Ronettes. Their songs were performed well, although one of the three members was absent from the performance which I attended which gave their performances and dance routines a very lopsided feel.
Overall, the performance was all about the music, and was played more as a tribute show than as a full musical-style show with a plot, and as such, the songs were well performed (despite a bit of corpsing over issues with the key in which they sang “Blue Moon”).