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Amid shower of gifts, Frankie Valli breaks all-time concert record at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

By Jay Cridlin
From left: Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, center, and New York Yankees special advisor Ray Negron, right, present Frankie Valli with a key to the city of Clearwater on March 2, 2018 at Ruth Eckerd Hall. (Jay Cridlin | Times)

Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos approached Frankie Valli with a gift from the city, one more than three decades in the making.

"As a Jersey boy," Cretekos said, "you know that if we gave you the real key to the city, we couldn't take our eyes off of you."

Valli laughed. The key he received might not open any actual doors, but there's one in Clearwater that's always been open to him for years.

Friday marked Valli's 29th performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall, breaking a record shared by Johnny Mathis and Engelbert Humperdinck. Throughout a night of hits like Working My Way Back to You and My Eyes Adored You – all backed by a 32-piece orchestra assembled for the event – the venue and city showered the crooner with gifts and honorifics.

RELATED: Frankie Valli workin his way back to Ruth Eckerd Hall…again

In addition to the key to the City, New York Yankee greats Willie Randolph and Ron Guidry came out to present him with a framed Joe DiMaggio jersey. Jon Gruden sent him a signed Raiders cap, and Hooters presented him with a VIP card in the name of "The Real Frankie Valli."

"You guys here have been fantastic to us all the time," Valli said. "We love coming here. I think we come just about every year now, and it's just great."

Friday's concert was sold out, but there's another one at 8 p.m. Saturday, with limited tickets still available. Click here for details.

Frankie Valli performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 2, 2018. (Jay Cridlin | Times)
Frankie Valli performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 2, 2018. (Jay Cridlin | Times)
Frankie Valli performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 2, 2018. (Jay Cridlin | Times)
From left: Frankie Valli, Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos and New York Yankees special advisor Ray Negron on stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 2, 2018. (Jay Cridlin | Times)
Frankie Valli performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 2, 2018. (Jay Cridlin | Times)