Johnny Mathis delighted fans at Wolf Trap last Friday with a beautiful trip down memory lane. Though his 76 years young, his voice is still the velvet that it has always been. Not a note or bit of feeling was out of place.
The night started with the culmination of a lifetime of achievement by way of a standing ovation and fans cheering. He crooned, “When I Fall In Love” and we fell in love with him all over again. He took us into the movies with “Two For The Road” and “Charade”, “Days of Wine and Roses” and gave me goosebumps with “Moon River”. Then he took us on a journey through a medley of his greatest hits…”It’s Not For Me To Say”, “Chances Are”, climaxing with the full-length version of “Gina”. I was almost named “Gina” because of this classic song of love, but “Gina Levien” did not sound good…lol, so I got “Denise, shooby do” instead! His songs are timeless and his voice is a haunting. He is remarkable, with the same power and soul in his voice as always. Mathis sang fifteen songs and every minute was pure gold! He then introduced comedian, Brad Upton, while he took a little break. From the moment Brad started his set, I was dying from laughter. He is fantastically funny and had me crying from laughing so hard. His jokes rang true with his rants on the world of teenagers and twenty-somethings with their cell phones, spending money on sound systems that are more than the car and general insanity of being a parent to teens. The audience loved him for good reason! I bought his CD and have listened to it through twice, so far! The choice of a comedian to break up the show is a good one. I liked the change of pace and that it wasn’t another singer because after all, we just wanted to hear Johnny sing! So Brad’s observational humor added to the evening perfectly!
The intermission brought Johnny back to us with vigor in his step. His lyrics are clear and full of the emotion that every song deserves. Six more tunes came our way and I sat, thinking how amazing it is to listen to him live! The last time that I saw him perform was at Wolf Trap, about eight years ago and he was just as sensational then, as he is now! “Misty” made us all, well, misty. But towards the end I was praying in my seat to hear, “The Twelfth of Never” and then….there it was…”You ask how much I need you…”clear, melodic and sweet. My favorite song came to life again. It’s such a heartfelt song, but the way that Johnny sings it, to this day, you can feel every lyric and he brought tears to my eyes. After the ballad of all ballads, he livened things up with a group of Spanish songs, that ended with “Brazil”. The audience was thrilled with how the evening went. His smooth vocals are ever-present at my house, especially around Christmas. He closed the evening with an encore performance featuring, “You’ll Never Know”, but hopefully he knows how much we all cherished the evening and hope that he comes back next year!
Overall Grade: A+, it is a terrific presentation between Mathis and Upton.
Venue grade: A+, the weather was lovely. I have gotten to see Mathis perform at other venues and he is, of course terrific anywhere, but Wolf Trap is my favorite place to see him.
For Johnny Mathis’ future dates www.johnnymathis.com
For Brad Upton’s comedy outings, check out www.bradupton.com
And of course for Wolf Trap, visit www.wolftrap.org