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The Boston Pops' Irresistible Trip to the '70s

Monday, August 28, 2006

It was a far-out night to be at Wolf Trap on Friday when the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra turned back the clock to a decade of leisure suits and disco balls.

Under conductor Keith Lockhart, the Pops enthusiastically re-created the sounds that dominated the Broadway, the silver screen and the boob tube in the 1970s. Beginning in a galaxy far, far away, the Pops gave a robust rendition of the main title music from "Star Wars." The orchestra next offered up the waltz and love theme from "The Godfather," which, of course, the audience couldn't refuse. Then the creepy sounds of "Tubular Bells" from "The Exorcist" thumped away in mesmerizing fashion.

A medley of television show themes raised nostalgic murmurs and cheers from the crowd, and overtures to the musicals "A Chorus Line" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" inspired toe-tapping and head-bopping signs of enjoyment.

Making her Wolf Trap debut, Liz Callaway brought back the '60s by singing a peppy "The Beat Goes On" and a sassy "You Don't Own Me." Though delightfully plangent in two show tunes, she favored songs by Jimmy Webb, singing warmly in "Didn't We," "Up, Up and Away" and a shortened "MacArthur Park." Her poignant version of Pete Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" seemed to stir deep emotions.

After Callaway warmed up everyone's voices with "Downtown," Lockhart led a '70s singalong, featuring "Celebrate," "Margaritaville" and "American Pie." He threw a few punches in "Gonna Fly Now" and concluded with the timeless "Stars and Stripes Forever."

-- Grace Jean

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