Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.

I hope mos tof the people at Capital Centre Tuesday night didn't go hoping to get close to Olivia Newton John. We were all in the same room, to be sure, but it's a big room. If you're in one of the cheap seats, she looks something like a Barbie doll - a very lively Barbie doll in a calf-length white wedding dress with gold-plated high heel boots. So much for togetherness.

I hope most of the people at Capital Centre Tuesday night didn't go to hear what she really sounds like. If you have made any kind of investment in hi-fi equipment, she will sound better in your own living room than she does in the vast echoing spaces of that auditorium.

Why, then, the vast, throbbing mass of humanity packed tight in those endless metallic rows of chairs? The only reasonable answer must be the big video screens, where you can see every pore of that sensitive girl-next-door face in living color, with her hair something turning blue as the lights change.

Whatever the reason, Washingtonians turned out en masse for her first appearance in this area, and apparently a good time was had by all. The music was mostly plastic country - anyone who has heard Emmy Lou Harris can tell how it differs from the real thing - but it was a fairly high grade of plastic. She also sang "As Time Goes By" with surprising skill, I think there may be a real singer hiding inside the superstar, but she's hard to find.