A Night With Peter and Paul

Monday, August 31, 2009

My wife and I and a few of our friends attended on Aug. 22 the latest in what has been the annual Peter, Paul and Mary concert at Wolf Trap. Last year, the concert was canceled because of Mary Travers's ongoing battle with leukemia. Wolf Trap included the trio on its spring schedule, but by mid-summer, the advertising had changed to "Peter & Paul Celebrate Mary & 5 Decades of Friendship."

As with every performance we have attended over the years, this year's seemed to have a full house.

Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey have reconfigured their arrangements to account for the absence of Mary's voice. The absence was profound. Two voices do not make a trio.

But the men were troopers and tried their best, although their comic banter between songs sadly lacked energy.

As the evening wound down, Peter and Paul did a rousing finale including all the big favorites, among them "If I Had a Hammer," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" and "This Land Is Your Land."

The applause went on forever, as if we could force backward the inevitable "end of an era." The house lights came up, Peter and Paul left, and we wondered what they felt.

NICK MOSCATIELLO

Silver Spring


© 2009 The Washington Post Company