Frankie Valli started Monday night's show at the Merriweather Post Pavilion with his current hit single, the title song from "Grease." He also ended the regular portion of the show with it.
There is an irony there, though it was probably lost on the 600 or so fans. That song with disco emphasis sounds more like an out-take from "Saturday Night Fever," and can never resound with the same power as the music that Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons made in the '60s, music that reflected the exuberance, inclinations and priorities of teen agers.
The song titles themselves conjure up images indelibly pressed in the mind'eye: "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man." all hits in 1962: "Stay," "Bye-Bye Baby," "Let's Hang On," "Working My Way Back to You." "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." and "Rag Doll."
It was on these songs, most of them abbreviated, but with enough of the famous falsetto, that Valli showed his mettle. His new material is dull, lifeless; the one exception was a ballad, "Without Your Love," where Valli was unencumbered by the 11-piece band and the three back-up vocalists. Frankie Valli was a great singles artist in the '60s, but these days he sounds best on the radio, unfortunately on oldies programs.