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Tony Bennett Praises Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum, Disses NYC Museums

Tony Bennett's signature tune may be "I left my heart in San Francisco," but the legendary singer is a true New Yorker -- born and raised in Astoria, Queens.

But the Big Apple, Bennett announced at his concert last night, has got nothing on Phoenix.

Surprisingly, Bennett wasn't talking about the sunshine. He was talking about our museums -- specifically, the Musical Instrument Museum in North Phoenix.

As Bennett explained to the audience at the Dodge Theatre, he visited the Musical Instrument Museum earlier in the day. He makes a point of visiting local museums in every city he tours.

But the Musical Instrument Museum takes the cake: It was, Bennett announced, "the best museum I've ever seen."

The best? Really, Tony?

We found ourselves wondering if Bennett, who plays his adoring audiences like a fiddle, was simply appealing to our local pride. But the endorsement was so sincere, he actually dissed his own hometown.

In the process of his three-minute rave, Bennett told the audience that he's from the best museum town there is. "We have the Met," he said, referring to New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"This one," he concluded, "is better."

So is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship for the start-up museum and the singer that Frank Sinatra famously lauded as "the best singer in the business"? We can't make any guarantees, but Bennett did also tell the Dodge Theatre-goers that he likes performing in small venues -- and that he's looking to find a way to do a show at the Musical Instrument Museum.

The Met, we presume, can eat its heart out.

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Sarah Fenske
Contact: Sarah Fenske