Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
The voice is fine.
Every couple of years, when Frank Sinatra passes through Washington, there is much ado about the condition of the great man's voice. Tuesday night's adoring, sellout crowd at the Capital Centre filed out sure in the knowledge that Ol' Blue Eyes' 63-year-old cords are in great shape, thank you.
Sinatra was very much the band singer last evening, wandering on-stage in a tuxedo, toying with a crowd that included some other old familiar faces. Former Redskins coach George Allen was there, as was a tan and aging Spiro Agnew in the company of Sinatra's wife Barbara Marx.
On stage, Sinatra offered an hour-long sampling of his innumerable hits, including "All Of Me," "Chicago," "My Funny Valentine," "The Lady Is a Tramp" and inevitably, "My Way." Women - not all of them middle aged - roared in appreciation, while Sinatra worked the huge arena as if it were a cocktail lounge.
Midway through the performance, Sinatra was no longer the band singer. He lit a cigarette, descibed himself as the last of a dying breed of saloon singers and eased into a memorable adaptation of "The Man That Got Away."
Then he moved up in time, doing Peter Allen's "You And Me," and showcased a song called "Remember," written for him by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Though the songs were new to her, the matron near the orchestra who stood and cried throughout the performance, bawled through those songs as well.
Sinatra mugged at his audience, punched downbeats at his 40-piece orchestra, sipped occasionally from a larg amber-colored tumbler and generally knocked the folks at the Capital Centre out.
His phrasing and his ability toget in tune with his audience was most impressive.
Sinatra bullfrogged a note or two, and seemed less than comfortable with the Beattles' "Something," and Jimmy Webb's "Didn't We," but beyond that his night in Largo was faultless.
"I loved you for 30 years," yelled a woman from the upper reaches, and last night at the Capital Centre, she wasn't alone.