Reprinted from yesterday's editions

The world of pop music for a pop music performer is harsh. One day you're up, the next day you're down. Time marches on. You're only as good as your newest record. Better luck next time.

For singer Helen Reddy, all of these cliches are sad but true. Several years ago, her star was rising. Hit singles. Television appearances. She was at the TOP OF THE CHARTS.

Monday night, Reddy's show at the Merriweather Post Pavilion drew only several hundred of the old faithful. They applauded politely and chuckled at her jokes but the excitement was as damp as the heavy night air.

Reddy's show was nothing more than a cliche. She sang her hit songs and chatted with the crowd but her performance had a perfunctory mood that made her show seem dull and listless. She recited her jokes and introductions as though they were from a carefully written script, and her dancing and movement had all the spontaneity of an Arthur Murray dance course. The way Reddy and her 11-piece backup group performed, it was easy to see that her set was more a business than a pleasure.

Comedian David Steinberg opened the show, and despite the sound of jets, a rebellious lights crew and the foul weather, his casual wit was a delight. His jokes dealt with the usual comedic subject - sexual mores, Italians, Jews, and Washington Post critics. Well, there's no accounting for taste.