Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
In her first solo appearance in Washington since the Labelle conglomeration dissolved earlier this year. Patti Labelle proved the Labelle phenomenon is still alive in her.
All three of the singers that made up Labelle are now single acts. Yet Tuesday at the Kennedy Center, where Patti Labelle performed two shows along with Lenny Williams, a good, dynamic singer, the other two weren't missed.
In the Concert Hall, the capacity audience roared before Labelle appeared, even cheering as her nine musicians paraded onstage. The audience chanted and stomped as she tried an old trick, beginning her song, "Isn't It a Shame," offstage.
When she finally appeared dressed in a hair-decorated, zebra-striped cattan over black leotards, they handed her flowers. When she compalined that her mascara was stagging her eyes, they handed her silk scarves. And when she finished her songs and her musicians had left the stage, they shouted until she returned.
In recent years when the group Labelle appeared in Washington, they attracted very enthusiastic audiences, with a fair share of glitter freaks. Tuesday's audience was very uoung, not as eatwardly Psvehedelic as those of the past but as frenzied. And Labelle didn't disappoint with her outrageousness.
She pulled most of her songs from her new album, simply called "Patti Labelle," using her very powerful and pliable voice to scueeze the lyrics as shrill as a shen. She has the knack of looking inexhaustible and regal, even when she is moaning and clinging to the microphone.
Essentially Tuesday Labelle proved who the phenomenon of a few years ago really was.