Review: Lou Christie golden atop ‘Oldies’ bill
SCHENECTADY Former teen idol Lou Christie headlined another strong Golden Oldies Spectacular lineup Saturday night at Proctors, bringing nothing but hits to a near-full house.
Taking the stage in the second act, Christie threw himself into the material, soaring on his trademark falsetto choruses — even at 70, his voice proved to be in fine shape. “I’m Gonna Make You Mine” kicked things off on a high note, with the four-piece horn section screaming to life behind Christie’s inimitable croon.
During a medley of his early hits, including “The Gypsy Cried,” “Two Faces Have I” and “Rhapsody in the Rain,” he set out to reveal the secret of his falsetto, singing the first few verses with his hand firmly jammed into his front pocket as the audience roared.
But the best was to come. “Beyond the Blue Horizon,” popularized in the movie “Rain Man,” built off a gentle piano, with Christie staying in mid-register this time, only strafing the bottom of his falsetto for the finish. A bouncing version of “Heart of Saturday Night” preceded a set-closing “Lightning Strikes” that had the audience clapping and singing along.
Local group The Oldies Show delivered a set of truncated hits from “Rock Around the Clock” to “Shake, Rattle & Roll” to open the night.
The energetic Sonny Turner was up next, white sequin suit and dance moves on full display as he led his version of The Platters through a hits-heavy set that kicked off with “With This Ring.” Turner was in fine form throughout, quipping with the audience about “oldies” versus “vintage” and hitting some mean falsettos on “Twilight Time,” “The Great Pretender” and “The Magic Touch.” A killer version of “My Prayer” towards the end of the set received a standing ovation from the excited crowd.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters may have lacked in the dance department compared to Turner, but were no less energetic. Original Drifter Thomas was a bit rough around the edges vocally, but still hit some impressive highs on “This Magic Moment,” “There Goes My Baby” and the moving “Count the Tears.” Finale “Under the Boardwalk” had the entire audience joining in.
Kenny Vance and the Planotones closed out the first act with a ferocious set that showed off the twin talents of original Jay & The Americans member Vance, on lead vocals, and musical director Johnny Gale on lead guitar. Gale’s twangy playing helped bring numbers such as “In the Still of the Night” and a thrilling version of Jay & The American’s “Cara Mia” to new heights, while Vance punctuated songs with his remarkable range and edgy between-song humor. Best of all was “Angel Baby,” followed by the Planotones’ signature “Looking for an Echo,” the two songs framing a lengthy jam.
Nicole Ortiz, the only female singer on the bill, tackled the national anthem before The Oldies Show’s set. Later, the former “American Idol” top 30 finalist opened the second set with a medley of girl group songs, showing off her impressive vocal range once again.