As reunions go, the Mamas and the Papas' at the Wax Museum was a bust, from an unnecesarry hour-long delay right trough to the end of a lackluster show. When fans are willing to say thanks for the memories by turing out 15 years after the fact, they deserve something. They certainly deserve more than a high school amateur night. Mostly they deserve their money's worth; apparently the dollar isn't the only thing to become devalued since the mid-60s.
Things began on four awful notes with a wretched rendition of "Straight Shooter," seeminly sung in different keys and tempi. From there, passable moments galloped by between long stretches that should embarrass the Mamas and the Papas. Among the low-lights--Mackenzie Phillips' perennial flatness on "Dedicated to the One I Love" and the theme to "One Day at a Time;" Spanky McFarlene with a lounge quality medley of her old hits. Once vivid harmonies surfaced only on the ballad "12:30" and two promising new songs, "Chinaman" and "Mr. Blue," a pop-ish Lou Reed imitation. For the most part, though, the Was Museum's excellent sound system magnified the group's vocal shortcomings. And when those are magnified, there is not much left.
Head Papa John Phillips may have held onto the dream a bit too long; this is a group far better served by memory than encounter.