Singer Patti Page looked back on her 52-year career at Lisner Auditorium Monday night. Literally.
The concert opened with a vintage montage--images of a young singer with a pleasant voice and an impossibly slender waist performing on television in the mid-'50s. Looking over her shoulder at the "person who used to be me," Page reflected on the passing of time and the trajectory of her career with an endearing mixture of bewilderment and pride. And then came the songs, a memory-jogging wave of standards and novelties that helped define the sound of pop nearly a half century ago.
Never one to indulge in vocal flourishes, Page continues to interpret songs with a homespun simplicity that emphasizes clear diction and uncomplicated phrasing. At this stage in her career she has some difficulty negotiating tight intervals and sustaining certain notes, and some of the more contemporary material she performs, such as the Bill Withers hit "Ain't No Sunshine," doesn't suit her talents.
Yet even during the opening part of show, when the sound mix was marred by low-level static, Page's performances were always tuneful and entertaining. With the help of a 12-piece band, she later resurrected "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" complete with barking horn section and howling audience. But the singer once courted by every Chamber of Commerce in the country really hit her stride when she imbued "Tennessee Waltz," "Old Cape Cod" and other "territory" favorites with a warm and lasting glow.