Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Last year at Shady Grove it was Dionne Warwick and Isaac Hayes. This year, it's Dionne Warwick and Lou Rawls - and not a beat has been lost.
Wednesday night's opening, the first of five nights, was a triumph for both singers who romped separately through some of their hits from tha '60s and '70s, and offered new material they've barely recorded.
It was hard to tell which performer attracted the most people. Fans, mostly women of various ages, screamed at every suggestive move Rawls made and hung on every lyric. Others cheered Warwick's stroll through the many songs Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote for her.
Rawls' act is a glowing combination of soulful singing and slick patter. When he sings songs like "Natural Man" or "Groovy People," he invests them with an infectious phrasing that sweeps along audiences. But it's his latest hit, "You'll Never Find A Love Like Mine," that brought the near-capacity 2,900-person crowd to its feet.
Warwick, looking resplendent in a billowing turquoise lounging outift, sang and talked with more knowing presence than ever. It was as if she had abandoned much of her image as the nice girl next door. Though her material was familiar, it came out sounding slightly different. She explored the melodic contours and emotional depth of "Alfie" in a way that she had not usually done before. Her delivery of Elton John's "It Seems to Me" was marvelous for its simplicity and directness.