The amplified sound at the Capital Plaza Theatre's oldies show Saturday afternoon was so distorted that most of the musicians would have been better off phoning in their parts. And if the crowd had been any smaller, the calls could have been placed person-to-person.
Only a few dozen people attended the matinee at the 700-seat theater to hear "Tribute to the Legends," a '50s revue by Sonny Til, the doo-wop pioneer. Til, who made his way to the stage on crutches, fared best with the sound system. Seated at the edge of the stage, he reminisced about his early R&B days with the Orioles and offered some entertaining, if hardly letter-perfect, impressions of Nat King Cole and Billy Eckstine.
His colleagues on the bill, however, weren't so lucky. Both Brenda Jones and Della Griffin, who quite convincingly re-create the sound of Dina Washington and Billie Holiday, respectively, were consistently hampered by technical problems. As for Gerald Gregory's performance--it was ludicrous. His richly humorous and seemingly bottomless bass voice was rendered unintelligible from start to finish.
In short, there was nothing wrong with the "Tribute" that a small power failure wouldn't have helped to correct.