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115 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finest Audio & Video Recording of the Rat Pack in Concert
This DVD(1) and CD(1) set is an outstanding value for the money. The DVD is the most precious because it captures a televised charity benefit where the main 3 Rat Pack members (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.) do an updated version of their old Vegas Sands Hotel act. Titled the "Frank Sinatra Spectacular."

The show is in black and...
Published on July 26, 2004 by Mack_T_Knife

versus
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not what I expected.
The cd portion of this set (recorded in 1962) was great. What really stands out about the cd is not only the individual performances, but the interactive performances of these legends. The first drawback of the set, I wish the dvd (recorded in 1965) was of the show featured on the cd. The 1962 performance, in my opinion, is much more energetic. I own other live...
Published on December 4, 2003


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115 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finest Audio & Video Recording of the Rat Pack in Concert, July 26, 2004
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
This DVD(1) and CD(1) set is an outstanding value for the money. The DVD is the most precious because it captures a televised charity benefit where the main 3 Rat Pack members (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.) do an updated version of their old Vegas Sands Hotel act. Titled the "Frank Sinatra Spectacular."

The show is in black and white, but since it was recorded by a major television network for the purposes of making a documentary on Sinatra, the camerawork and sound are quite good. Again, it is easily the highest quality video and sound recording of essentially the same act they did for years in Vegas and at the Villa Venice in Chicago for Sam Giancana.

(Incidentally--The charity that this show was meant to raise cash for was a halfway house for ex-cons in St. Louis called Dismas House.)

There are a few twists that make this show unique from the shows the Rat Pack did at the Sands in Las Vegas. A very young Johnny Carson (just a few years into his gig replacing Jack Paar as host of the Tonight Show) is filling in on short notice for Joey Bishop as Master of Ceremonies. A bit nervous but good natured about the gang's shennanigans, he fills in ably.

Peter Lawford, by this time falling out of favor with Sinatra, is not even mentioned, much less seen --in the show.

A rather young Quincy Jones (referred to as "Q") conducts the orchestra.

Sammy Davis clearly steals the show. Typically, in the Vegas and Chicago nightclub acts, Frank and Dean playfully interrupt Sammy throughout his act whether he is singing, dancing or attempting to do impressions. Here, they actually allow him to do his full act with virtually no interuption. What a treat. Sammy demonstrates a number of popular dance steps, does some marvelous, passionate singing numbers, and also sings Be-Bom accapella solely with a bongo accompianing him. He also gets through most of his celebrity impersonations (he impersonates various stars like Nat King Cole, Marlon Brando, Billy Eckstein etc. singing parts of "One for My Baby") without interuption until the very end. What a remarable talent Davis was.

Although the DVD contains just the show and no "extras," it is obviously well-produced and well-mastered for sound.

The CD that accompanies the DVD is a different show. I believe it is a show from one of the nights at the Villa Venice in Chicago. The show is remarkably similar to the show from "The Summit In Concert" (it may even be the same) CD. For the money, this set provides you with not only the sounds of the legendary Rat Pack in Concert, but also the sights. The DVD is a rare treat indeed not found elsewhere.
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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CD/DVD a Great Bargin, November 14, 2003
By 
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
"Live and Swingin', The Ulitimate Rat Pack Collection," brings you back to another time in America. I am too young to have seen the Rat Pack live, but this CD/DVD combination provides the next best thing.
Disc one is an audio-only CD with performances of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. at a Chicago nightclub in 1962. Disc two, which was actually broadcasted about two years ago on cable's TV Land, shows a 1965 St. Louis performance by the same trio, with a very young Johnny Carson MCing. If you like the Rat Pack mythology and all that it stands for, then this collection is perfect. Thankfully, through all the clowning, there are some very good performances here, both on the CD and DVD, from Sinatra, Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. The comedy segments are also enjoyable, you can clearly see, at least at this point in their careers, that the three really enjoyed working with each other.
For about the price of a new CD, you get a CD and DVD. A great deal. Highly recommended.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding DVD, December 2, 2003
By 
Donald Chewms (chewms5@hotmail.com) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
When I initially bought this, I was looking forward to listening to the CD for a long car ride I had ahead of me, and figured the DVD would be a nice little bonus that I would watch at some point.
As it turns out, the DVD is absolutely amazing and well worth the price alone. Not that the CD isn't great too, but it was watching the live performance that really moved me. Dean Martin is just a riot to watch, and it is impossible not to be in awe of the undeniable charisma of Sinatra when he performs. He just has a confidence you don't see too often. But the one that really stood out for me was Sammy Davis, Jr. I have been a Sinatra fan for as long as I can remember, but never gave much credit or attention to Davis. Boy, was that a mistake! The man is so versatile and musically gifted, and quite a comic performer in his own right (his impression of fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin is priceless). The highlight of the DVD for me was Sammy's vocals accompanied by only drums. Truly amazing!
For any true Rat Pack fan or anybody that is remotely interested in them, you will surely not be let down by this CD/DVD package. Do not hesitate to buy this immediately!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Just tryin' to have a little fun, folks...", March 5, 2006
By 
Konrei "Everything I need is right here" (Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
If you are a fan of The Rat Pack or merely curious about the allure of this supremely talented group of Entertainers, LIVE & SWINGIN' is a must-have CD/DVD set. Comprised of a CD featuring sparkling performances at the Villa Venice circa late 1962 and a DVD of a "Frank Sinatra Spectacular" benefit performance for Dismas Halfway House of St. Louis, Missouri in 1965, LIVE & SWINGIN' is as close to an in-person experience of The Rat Pack as we will now ever get.

The ease with which Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra engage us with their multitalented singing, dancing, and clowning is legendary, and the DVD in particular makes it easy to see why. These guys loved what they did, they loved their audiences, they loved poking fun at themselves, and they loved each other.

An impossibly young Johnny Carson as MC (who apologizes for standing in for Joey Bishop, the fourth member of The Rat Pack, by explaining that Joey had injured his back "bowing himself out of Frank's presence") introduces Dean, who saunters onstage, drink in hand, and immediately croons us joyfully. Dean is followed by Sammy, who describes himself as "Colored, Jewish, and half-Puerto Rican---Man, when I move into a neighborhood, I wipe it out!" Sammy's happy hoofing is succeeded by Frank's tempered phrasing, which degenerates into uproarious laughter as Dean and Sammy seize the stage, and the three go wild with half-scripted, half-ad-libbed shtick in which Sammy never gets to finish a sentence. If you can't laugh at this, you must be dead. D-E-D.

The dry rot of our current culture would never allow our modern-day "stars" to spout the soooo-un-PC banter about booze, broads and Coloreds that the three trade uninhibitedly and unselfconsciously between themselves; never mind the ubiquitous cigarettes. And never mind again the fact that our current crop of narcissistic cookie-cutter celebrities wouldn't and couldn't ever share the stage and create the magic that was The Rat Pack.

To hell with BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. If you want to experience a true love story between men, give LIVE & SWINGIN' a double spin. And if you want to be happy, I suggest you do it every day.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is fantastic, October 17, 2003
By 
Harrison Cole (Hannibal, Missouri) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
This cd/dvd set is amazing. The other reviewer said something about the original Summit meetings, and how he saw clips. That does not mean that they were completely taped. This Dvd is a complete live performance of the stage act ever. What you get here is 4 fantastic talents. One is most versatile and talented performer ever. Sammy Davis Jr. is amazing at everything he does on here. Whether it is singing, doing impressions, showing the latest dance moves or doing great comedy. Dean Martin who is not only a fantastic singer but one of the funniest men to ever grace a stage. It makes think that he was the funny one in the Martin and Lewis team. Then you have the King of Late Night trading barbs with the kings of later night. Finally, you get Frank Sinatra powered by the Count Basie band singing with joy and abandonment. The Cd features songs from several performances, but the way they put it together makes sound like a normal Pack performance. My recommendation is BUY THIS CD/DVD SET. No matter what.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This set is live and swingin' all right! Make it The Rat Pack tonight !!!, October 3, 2006
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
This CD/DVD "Ultimate Rat Pack Collection" by Bristol Productions and Reprise Records is truly for the Rat Pack aficionado! It features a wonderful, albeit somewhat edited concert Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin gave in late November/early December of 1962 on CD; and a wonderful TV special without interruptions televised live on June 20, 1965. The CD and DVD provide more than ample proof that there has never been a greater team of professionals than The Rat Pack.

The CD opens with a brief introduction to the audience and then Dean Martin starts his part of the act. His medley of "Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes/When You're Smiling/The Lady Is A Tramp" is beautifully rendered and the comic antics throughout are already beginning to show. SMILE I especially liked the romantic and semi-sweet "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter."

Sinatra comes on next; he works the crowd wonderfully and I love his rendition of "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You." Sammy Davis, Jr. then wows them with classics including "What Kind Of Fool Am I" and "Hey There." Frank and Dean then do an extensive comedy skit and then all three members of the Rat Pack are on stage at once for some magical moments of singing and clowning around. They can do no wrong with incredible numbers as "Birth Of The Blues" and "Nancy (With The Smiling Face)." The concert ends with a reprise of "Birth Of The Blues;" and you really wish that this were a birth of the next CD with the next concert recorded on it included right in this package!

You get something a little different next but equally wonderful in its own way. The three members of The Rat Pack actually managed to get their schedules all in synch to perform together for a televised special program filmed at The Kiel Opera House in Saint Louis in 1965. This footage has been lovingly restored to the point where there is no static and no interference; it is presented here in its original glorious black and white. Johnny Carson starts off the show with a very funny monologue (he was filling in for a sick Joey Bishop) and Carson even sings at one point during the show! Great songs and comedy abound: Dean does a great job with "King Of The Road;" Sammy Davis, Jr. sings with The Count Basie Orchestra and performs a magnificent rendition of "I've Got You Under My Skin" and several other songs with just a drum beat in the background. Sinatra's eventually takes the stage and performs beautifully; he makes it look all so easy! His beautiful "Fly Me To The Moon" and "You Make Me Feel So Young" are so joyous that I found myself swinging and swaying as I sat in my chair just watching the DVD!

An extra special tidbit for fans is the appearance onstage of Tina Sinatra as this was filmed on her 17th birthday; The Rat Pack sings "Happy Birthday" and the crowd applauds--very sweet! The threesome end strong with "Birth Of The Blues" which leaves us both thrilled and desperate for more!

The liner notes include great photos of the Sammy, Frank and Dean as well as a very extensive and well written essay about the threesome and these performances by Bill Zehme. The song credits are there, too.

If you have loved the Rat Pack up until now, you should get this CD/DVD combo because you will be nothing less than thrilled with every minute of it! If you've never even heard of The Rat Pack, you will be amazed at the magic, energy and strength of their performances and you will be a new fan before long!

I highly recommend this CD/DVD set for fans of The Rat Pack, fans of the individual members of The Rat Pack, and fans of classic pop vocals. All the stars were in all the right places for these magical, powerful concerts to occur. The Rat Pack possessed an amazing aura of elegance, perfectionism and deep, deep respect for one another that all comes through so clearly in these recordings. Make it The Rat Pack tonight!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Rat Pack Combo!, March 17, 2005
By 
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
This is an excellent purchase! You not only get a great cd, but also a wonderful dvd. I was hesitant at first to purchase this when it came out: due to the low budget, and bad sounding stuff out on the market.

However, the sound quality is good, so don't hesitate to pick this up! The dvd alone is worth the price. It's nice to see the crew in action and to see the late great Johnny C. as well!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swinging With the Best, November 13, 2003
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
This cd set is exactly what it says it is- the ULTIMATE collection of Rat Pack music and comedy. The cd contains live performances from their November 25- December 2, 1962 visit to Chicago. There are songs by the individual singers, and songs and comedy with the famous trio.
With that said, the real treasure is the DVD. This is the first and only FULL live taped performance of the Rat Pack at their best in St. Louis Missouri, June 20, 1965. When you insert the dvd, you come to a menu that gives you the choice of viewing the whole show from begininng to end, or individual songs and comedy acts. If you choose to view particular performances, you will be taken to a menu page where you choose which singer you want to view. Then you are taken to a list of the songs that are performed by that singer, and while you are choosing, you are personally crooned by the singer you chose.
Seen in glorious black and white, the whole performance times in at a little over two hours. I think one of the absolute best parts of the DVD are the impressions Sammy does during his rendition of "One For My Baby". During this song, you will hear the impressions of Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Louis Armstrong, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, and more. These aren't just cheap shot impressions, he sounds exactly like who he's imitating. You will also see the famous NAACP award act, various imitations of stars by all of the singers, including Dean Martin doing a great Clark Gable impression.
Although Joey Bishop was absent due to sickness, Johnny Carson was not a bad replacement. You don't see a whole lot of him, but the dialogue he does contribute is hilarious and blends in with the rest of the pack.
Most of the time, the camera is right on the performers so you feel like they are performing for you. Just watching gives you goosebumps because of how much you feel like you are there.
If you enjoy Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, or even if you have no idea who they are, this really is a must buy. It is well worth the money, especially since you are getting a full-length cd and a two hour live performance! For those like me who weren't around when the Rat Pack was live and swinging, this gives a great opportunity to enjoy and respect them for the awesome team they were. There was nobody better than Frank, Dean, and Sammy, and there has not been any person or group that has come close to them since.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's finally arrived!, January 5, 2004
By 
"pinkpoodle11" (Minneapolis, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
As a relative youngster, I've only experienced the Rat Pack's live performances on CD. Every time I listen to those shows, I wish I could've been there. Watching their live performance on DVD gave me the chance to feel like an actual audience member. I've been searching for filmed Rat Pack Shows for a while now, and I freaked when I heard about this CD/DVD combo. My hands were practically shaking when I put this in the DVD player!
As usual, Dean Martin warms up the crowd with his drunken schtick and "modified" lyrics. True to form, he doesn't take himself too seriously, which is reflected in his silly faces and interaction with the musicians. In my opinion, Dean is the most entertaining of the three, even if he doesn't make it through an entire song without cracking up. Dean definitely breaks down the barrier between stage and audience. Dino has always been my favorite. His handsome face and twinkling eyes make my loins quiver, but that's another story.
Sammy enters with a bang and gives an amazing but more serious performance. The message is clear that this is a pretty formal affair, compared to the more playful Vegas gigs. I would have to agree with the other reviewers that Sammy steals the show, musically speaking. Toward the end of his performance, he lightens the mood with his fabulous imitations of this fellow crooners. If you like Sammy, this DVD is for you.
I don't know what to say about Frank Sinatra other than he gave a sparkling performance as usual. I loved how Dean started to shout and sing along off stage while Frank was singing `Please Be Kind.' It was great to see Sinatra crack up during one of his numbers. After Sinatra finished, the moment we were all waiting for had arrived-the loveable Rat Pack comedic banter, with a young Johnny Carson in on all the fun. In conclusion, I would say that the show was wonderful, but a little more formal than I would've have liked. Even still, the CD/DVD combo is definitely worth experiencing. Buy It!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sammy is King!!, December 18, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Live & Swingin': The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection (Audio CD)
I would first like to say that Dean and Frank are boss, and titans of the stage, but...it is Sammy who is truly the stand out talent here.
Dean sings beautifully, Frank with a cool confidence, but Sammy is riveting. Someone made the comment that he over sings songs a little too much for their taste. Well, it does seem so only because he has so much more voice. It is a measurable difference. The timbre, it's strength only lead me to believe that his true talent (singing) never really was fostered because of the other many supreme talents he possesed.
So, I say to you Sammy, from a life-long, dedicated Frank fan, you were truly the greatest entertainer that ever lived!
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