Tossing out tambourines and letting sail with several neon frisbees, Kenny Rogers gave a sell-out crowd at the Capital Centre last night more than they bargained for. And they loved every minute of it.
Even before the concert began, it was obvious that Rogers' frequent television appearances have done little to diminish his drawing power on stage. A mostly middle-aged crowd, many of them wearing cowboy hats and boots, packed the hall early. By showtime the only seats available were those temporarily vacated by amateur photographers who consistently darted close to the stage with hopes of getting a snapshot.
Rogers and his fellow performers -- Dottie West and Dave Roland and Sugar -- were more than happy to oblige.
In fact, for anyone who has enjoyed Rogers on TV his concert last night must have seemed picture perfect. All that was missing were the commercials.
Appearing in the round, Rogers managed to shrink the size of the arena to human proportions with a lively, personable show. He looked rather tired and overweight, but his gentle, if somewhat limited, voice was nicely displayed on songs stretching all the way back to the First Edition's "Just Walked In."
The crowd pleasers, of course, were those catchy lyrics that tend to take root on Top 40 radio. Apart from the sweetheart duets he sang with Dottie West, nothing Rogers performed all night could rival the foot-stomping response he received before, during and after the songs "Lucille" and "The Gambler."