Tony Bennett has taken to the stage of Radio City Music Hall in his emotional finale New York performances.
Joined with special guest Lady Gaga, the 95-year-old celebrated his birthday by leaving his heart on the stage for his devoted audience.
The show took place in August, six months after Tony and his family revealed he is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Now, the rest of the world has a chance to experience the TV special, One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, which aired in the US on Sunday night.
Tony Bennett sang all of his signature songs, including I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Fly Me to the Moon and Steppin’ Out With My Baby, before signing a number of duets with Lady Gaga.
Some of Tony’s family members have admitted that since his diagnosis, he often doesn’t know where he is or what is happening around him.
But, on the stage in New York City, the legendary performer was in his element and didn’t miss a beat.
Lady Gaga belted out her own rendition of New York, New York before Tony took to the stage, as she teared up to introduce him.
“He’s my friend. He’s my musical companion. And he’s the greatest singer in the whole world. And I’m counting on you, New York, to make him smile. So you better cheer. You better yell. You better laugh. You better cry. You better give your soul,” she said.
Walking on stage, Tony was greeted with a standing ovation before singing a single note.
Throughout the evening, the audience stood and applauded the legendary performer, as they sang along to all of his classic hits.
Although Tony feels at home on the stage, his wife Susan told 60 Minutes they were unsure if the show was going to go ahead due to his health.
But Susan said that once she saw him onstage that night, she knew everything would be just fine.
“He became himself. He just turned on. It was like a light switch,” she told 60 Minutes in a segment that aired last month.
According to Bennett’s neurologist Dr Gayatri Devi, this is because music and performing are so ingrained in Tony’s mind.
“People respond differently based on their strengths. In Tony’s case, it’s his musical memory his ability to be a performer. Those are an innate and hardwired part of his brain,” Devi said on 60 Minutes.
“So even though he doesn’t know what the day might be, or where his apartment is, he still can sing the whole repertoire of the American Songbook and move people.”
Image credits: Getty Images
This article first appeared on Over60.