Perry Como paused to take questions from the crowd at Wolf Trap last night. "Your phone number?" shouted an excited woman. "You'd only be disappointed," quipped the 75-year-old singer once the laughter died down.
It was that sort of an evening -- charming, relaxed and utterly entertaining. Time hasn't diminished the gentle allure of Como's voice; it's as soothing and effortless as ever.
Anyone who has been around television for as long as Como knows a thing or two about production values. He was backed by an orchestra and six women who sang and danced and otherwise camped it up. At one point Como briefly lamented the absence of great songs on the radio these days, but he'd probably be the first to admit that his choice of material hasn't always been exemplary. He glossed over novelty tunes such as "Hot Diggity" and strolled rather indifferently through more contemporary pop fare like "That's What Friends Are For." Not surprisingly, some of the best moments came when he remembered Bing Crosby -- one crooner saluting another with "Blues Skies" and the like was hard to beat.
Opening was Scott Record, an amusing and imaginative impressionist. He poked fun at the usual targets -- President Reagan, Frank Sinatra, et al. -- but the results were surprisingly fresh and silly. Among the highlights was Oliver North played by Jimmy Stewart, fingering the real contragate culprit: "It's my friend Harvey," he stammered.