Hugh’s Room | Toronto August 15th 2013
Photography by: Simply Light Photography
You would not be amiss to compare Alfie Zappacosta to a vintage VQA wine. Very rarely accessible but when he does perform it’s for a discerning crowd who are extremely familiar with his set list. Having successfully battled recent health setbacks, the Sora Italy native was in strong voice during his recent appearance at a capacity Hugh’s Room dinner theatre setting, playing to a solid female following.
Supported by an instrumental duo of Ross Woodridge on piano (replaced on a couple of key songs by Marco Luciani) and the multi-talented Claudio Vena on accordion and viola, Zappacosta, an accomplished guitarist in his own right, immediately honored the Italian contingent in the audience by singing ‘Nacusa Grande’. He then launched into a set list which combined hit standards like `Nothing Can Stand In Your Way’’ and `Oh My Baby’ with later tracks like `Tears Of Hercules’ `Start Again’ and `Orlanda’ before concluding his first set with a stunning cover of `Me And Mrs Jones’.
Zappacosta launched his second set with another golden standard `My Funny Valentine’ before following with tracks like `As We Dance’, `Overload’ (his contribution to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack)’, `Lombard Street’ and `Adelina’, songs the average punter may be unaware of yet his fans instantly recognized and embraced. Zappacosta also worked `Passion’, one of his first hits into the mix before wrapping up the set with `I’ll Be The One’, a song he wrote for his daughter’s wedding and an encore of another Zappacosta hit “We Should Be Lovers”
In all, a strong set from an artist who really is a Canadian treasure who remains a viable artist who continues to mature. Yes there are comparisons with Michael Buble, and justifiably so. Zappacosta may not have Buble’s hype machine behind him (although they both shared the same manager, Bruce Allen, at one point) yet the quality in performance suggests Zappacosta can still aspire to a bigger stage.
As one satisfied patron, obviously of the Italian persuasion, uttered as she left the room, `Forza Zappacosta’.