Backed by a superb 12-piece band, led by musical director John Oddo, and a trio of fine female vocalists (cleverly dubbed "The Dreidelettes"), Feinstein starts things on the upswing with an irresistible medley of Jerry Herman tunes ("Before the Parade Passes By"/"We Need a Little Christmas"/"The Best Christmas of All"), followed by a charming new holiday tune entitled "Winter in Manhattan."
He then continues to sprinkle unusual seasonal songs throughout the evening, ranging from Kay Thompson's "Holiday Season" to E.E. Lawrence's "That's What I Want For Christmas" and a Sinatra-inspired rendition of "The Dreidel Song," along with a classic or two, such as "I'll Be Home for Christmas."
Feinstein even slips in a beautiful, if extremely sad, holiday tune called "After the Holidays," which was written by Johnny Meyer for Judy Garland -- and performed by the legendary star only once, a few months before her death, on The Tonight Show.
Indeed, it's no surprise to any Feinstein followers that he can't stay away from the ballads and barn-burners that have made him so popular. His jazz-inflected version of "The One I Love Belongs to Someone Else" is top-notch; a medley of "For All We Know" and "I'll Be Seeing You" is supremely touching; and there's no denying that his full-out takes on "A Lot of Living to Do," "What Did I Have That I Don't Have," and "For Once In My Life" are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.