by Michael P Coleman
I am not in the habit of making creative suggestions to legends like the incomparable Johnny Mathis. He’s been thrilling audiences for 64 years — and counting! — in part because he knows what he’s doing. And Mathis’ current tour, dubbed The Voice Of Romance, is aptly entitled, as anyone who attended one of his recent Valentine’s Day shows can attest.
But if Mathis is ever in the market for a new name for his superb stage show, he could consider Unpredictable. Just when I thought I had him all figured out, the 84 year old icon proved he has still got a few tricks under that immaculately tailored sleeve.
Mathis kicked off his show at Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael with “When I Fall In Love,” first popularized by Doris Day and made popular by one of Mathis’ idols, Nat “King” Cole. Mathis recorded a brilliant version of the tune for his Open Fire, Two Guitars masterpiece in 1959. Sunday evening, his live rendition included a largely forgotten prelude that spoke of feelings of obsolescence.
“Perhaps I’m old fashioned,” Mathis crooned, but “when I fall in love, it will be forever.” The refrain echoed the seemingly undying love Mathis’ fans have had for him since first being smitten by that voice of his, way back in 1956.
And while Day, Cole, and countless others who have recorded “When I Fall In Love” are long gone, Mathis is still at it.
And he’s still got it!
Most of the hits were there, from “Misty” to “Chances Are” and “The 12th Of Never,” to a brilliant Henry Mancini set which capped the concert’s first half. Mathis had earned a handful of standing ovations to accompany the audible sighs and gasps from the crowd by then, and had more than earned a brief break.
But like a master showman, Mathis saved the concert’s most stunning moment for the show’s second half.
Click here to read MPC’s full review, and find out the song with which Mathis closed the show, leaving fans dancing out of the venue!
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