Reprinted from yesterday's late editions

The career of most pop stars is usually short and sweet. A few years. A few hit records. An easy fortune. Adulation. Fame. Overnight success. Then overnight obscurity from which few return.

Neil Sedaka is one of those few. His performance at the Merriweather Post Pavilion Thursday was actually two shows - Neil Sedaka, the teen idol of the late '60s, whose career ended with the British invasion of 1964, and Neil Sedaka, the popular middle-aged singer-songwriter of the mid-'70s, whose songs have been embraced by a new generation of pop listeners.

The reasons for his initial success and his comeback are the same. Bright, uncomplicated lyrics set the snappy, cheerful music with melodic "hooks" that even the most ardent pessimist could not fail to grab. Added to the songs is Sedaka the performer. Smiling, dancing about the stage, kissing the lovely backup singers, Sedaka is as effervescent and entertaining today as he was in 1968.

His strong, high-pitched voice has worn with time and while he has certainly grown a trifle pudgy in his middle-age, his spirit and enthusiasm are still those of a bubbling teen-age star.

Neil Sedaka obviously enjoys performing his songs as he enjoys writing thim and the crowd responded by clapping with his music and bouncing in their seats. After 20 years, that's not bad.