70s pop icon Helen Reddy made a much anticipated return to singing with two concerts, one at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano Friday August 10 and then Saturday August 11 at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills. I covered the event on Saturday at the Canyon Club, and depsite hours of traffic congestion on the 101, the house was packed with overly enthusiastic fans and friends.
As many singers approach their golden years of life, they cannot sing quite as well as they once did. Well, let me assure you upfront, this is not the case with forever talented Helen Reddy. In forty years her lovely smooth voice has aged richer and more melodic than ever. Looking radiant at 70, Reddy grabbed her LA audience at the very top with "Stars" and held them spellbound throughout the hour-long set. In spite of an almost five minute standing ovation at the end, however, she chose not to return for an encore, leaving her fans literally begging for more.
Also choosing not to sing her greatest hits, Reddy picked favorite tunes that had been cut from many of her albums through the years such as the heartfelt "Mama", "Bluebird", "Best Friend" which she sang in Airport 75, the beautiful "Nice To Be Around" from Cinderella Liberty, Don McLean's "Birthday Song" and Peter Allen's "Long Time Looking" and her favorite of all, from 1952 "That's All" by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes. Yes, indeed, there were "You and Me Against the World" and two other hits... but with added surprises. On hand,
in the audience, was the composer of "Angie Baby" Alan O'Day, who at Reddy's invitation, came up onstage to help her sing the song of which she confessed, she had forgotten some lyrics. "It's been a long time, so cut me some slack", she quipped, enjoying every moment of having her old friend closeby. Seeing O'Day and Reddy embrace and hearing them sing together made for some memorably good music. Another terrific surprise came with Reddy's delivery of "I Am Woman", which has literally become an international anthem to feminism. She chose to recite it as a poem rather than sing it, making the message ring out more resoundingly powerful and clear than ever before. It was the icing on the cake of a truly unforgettable evening.
Don Grigware is an Ovation nominated actor and writer whose contributions to theatre through the years have included 6 years as theatre editor of NoHoLA, a contributor to LA Stage magazine and currently on his own website:|