Singer/songwriter Peter Allen has a dry wit, bubbling presence and a gushing gift of gab. He is smooth, svelte and sumptuously sophisticated. He is like a fanciful burst of light bolting across the stage -- a regular fey rey.
Peter Allen is also quite, quite dull.
There is a point at which smoothness crosses over to slick mundanity, and Allen managed the trick in his performance at the Bayou last night. Preceded by a drum-roll worthy of Gypsy Rose Lee, he vamped into the spotlight in a mirrored coat, shook his posterior at the capacity crowd and launched into a song. For the remainder of the evening, he mixed middle-of-the-road pop ditties with ever-so-amusing anecdotes in a show that was curdled with cuteness.
It's not that his voice was particularly offensive, and at times, in fact, his drollery was downright hilarious. But Allen and six-piece backup group never managed one ounce of real emotion or musicality. Instead, he merely oozed a kind of soppy poppishness and pushed his personality to the fore -- pure schmaltz for schmaltz's sake.
"I would really like to be a sensitive singer, like John Denver," he said at one point, his tongue fairly boring through his cheek. He then proceeded with a trite number that would have had even the Rocky Mountain Kid blushing from the banality of it all.