To Americans of, well, a certain age, Johnny Mathis is romance.
And even after all of years – Mathis celebrated his 75th birthday just two days before his show at Proctors – he’s still got it, whatever it is.
Backed by a whopping 29-piece orchestra, Mathis just stood there on the stage as casual as could be with one hand in his pocket. With his other hand, he raised the microphone to his lips, and his still-honeyed voice rolled out across the sold-out theater.
A week prior to the concert Mathis released his latest album – “Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville,” which includes a duet with Alison Krauss on the title track – but he didn’t perform any of the songs from the album. He knew that his crowd wanted to hear the hits, and that’s exactly he gave them.
Despite the lush orchestra behind him, Mathis gave two of his most magnificent performances in intimate duet settings – “Wild Is the Wind” with pianist John Scott Lavendar, and a hushed, hymn-like reading of “The Twelfth of Never” with guitarist Gil Reigers.
And comedian Gary Mule Deer – who entertained in between Mathis’ two sets – was devastatingly funny, too. Sporting a pompadour higher than Johnny Rabb’s, Mule Deer sang some song parodies and rattled off a big batch of rather edgy, rapid-fire jokes that had the crowd at his merch table lined up all throughout the intermission.
JOHNNY MATHIS SET LIST
When I Fall in Love
Movie medley (Two for the Road/Charade/Days of Wine and Roses/Moon River)
It’s Not for Me to Say/Chances Are/Gina
It’s All in the Game
Wild Is the Wild
To the Ends of the Earth
GARY MULE DEER PERFORMANCE
Pure Imagination/Baubles, Bangles and Beads/Stranger in Paradise/My Secret Love
You Make Me Feel Brand New
My Foolish Heart
99 Miles From LA
The Twelfth of Never
You’ll Never Know