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Tony Bennett, George Benson on stage
By Brian Offenther

SHANGHAI music venue the Mixing Room is seeing an explosion of numbers. Will they be the ones they are hoping for?

Forty-seven, 35, 27, 26 are the respective ages at the time of their Mixing Room concerts for guitarist Slash, Coheed and Cambria front-man Claudio Sanchez, Owl City mastermind Adam Young, and violinist Lindsey Stirling. Slash performed in May and Coheed and Cambria last Thursday. Owl City will perform on August 20 and Stirling on August 21.

Seventy and 87 are the respective ages of the latest two performers announced, guitarist George Benson and vocalist Tony Bennett. Benson will perform on September 3 and Bennett on September 19-20. Both have long ago been placed in the “legendary category,” but their appeal to a contemporary youth audiences might be in question.

Benson and Bennett both are more than qualified to “class up” the rock and electronic acts that make up the former group.

Benson was a child prodigy on guitar and has played with a who’s who of jazz and blues performers, including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and the before-mentioned Tony Bennett. He’s won 10 Grammy Awards for his wide-ranging talents, from Pop Instrumental Performance to Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male.

Bennett is perhaps the most celebrated living jazz and pop vocalist in the United States, if not the world. Since his first released recording in 1949, he’s done it all, from performed legendary concerts at Carnegie Hall to a duet with Lady Gaga. He was Frank Sinatra’s favorite singer, and is considered an icon of music.

The question must be asked though: even with their immaculate pedigrees, will they attract audiences to a venue most known for performers half their age? The Mixing Room is a fantastic venue, with a great stage set-up and fine acoustics for the loud acts that usually play there.

The final number: 1,280 yuan (US$208). That’s the price of a floor ticket to these shows and a not insignificant price tag.

It’s one that more sophisticated (and richer) audiences likely to be into Benson and Bennett might expect to pay at a theater, but at a place where many tickets don’t provide for seats?

When it all goes down, the most important number will be the tickets sold — and that remains to be seen.

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