Reprinted from yesterday's late edition.
"There'll be a change in the weather," Tony Bennett sang, and the crowd at Wolf Trap broke down in helpless laughter. That was about 10 minutes after the rain finally stopped threatening and attacked, scattering the people on the lawn, adding a bit of thunder to the drums on stage and even drifting in to mist some of the people in box seats.
The gods who control weather around Vienna, VA., have not been kind to Wolf Trap this summer, but by the time the rain began it didn't matter. Bennett and the large audience were all warmed up in total rapport. Nothing could dampen their spirits or even drive the hard-core fans from the lawn.
It didn't matter, either, that Bennett sounded like he had a cold, with his voice in a very uneven condition - losing control when he tried to sing high notes softly and breaking down completely in parts of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." He can still belt out a strong line like nobody else, and the people loved him as much for what he did wrong as for what he did right.
It helped a lot, at the tough points, that Count Basie was sitting at the piano and that his horns were on hand to cover momentary problems. The first half of the show was Basie's entirely - smooth, swinging, always technically impressive, particularly in numerous solos.