Paul Anka has been singing professionally for 26 years and he's got pictures to prove it. Lots of them.
In fact, Anka's "home movies" provided one of the highlights of his concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion last night. As images of "American Bandstand" and the faces of some of rock 'n' roll's primal screamers flashed on a screen, Anka sang, "Do you remember the times of your life?" At 42, Anka does, and so does his audience.
Ironically, most of this footage recalled the time when it wasn't safe for teen-idol Anka to venture into the audience. Now he thrives on it. During a medley of his early pop hits, he must have kissed more women than Richard Dawson busses in a month of "Family Feuds."
To his credit, though, Anka didn't yank heartstrings all night long. He continues to write and sing an extremely broad range of material, from the anthemic "My Way" to recent rock-based collaborations with Michael McDonald. Backed by a polished 17-piece ensemble, Anka often reached beyond his musical grasp, but as a showman he was tireless, and the small crowd he attracted loved him for it.
Earlier, comedian Kip Addotta consistently made the most out of life's little frustrations--things like "being stuck in a checkout line behind someone who wants to pay his bill with a Guamanian war bond." He's a very funny fellow.