by Roger Zotti
Paul Malo is the best male vocalist I’ve heard since I began covering the concert circuit. Similar to the late Roy Orbison, whom he often sounds like, Malo has tremendous power (but it’s restrained) and range and emotion and honesty.
On August 22, at Mohegan Sun’s Cabaret Theater, it was Malo and his guitar, and Robert Chevrier and his piano. That was it. Barebones. There was no back up band. It was enough. Malo and Chevrier achieved a perfect balance of singer/guitarist and pianist.
Malo, the former leader vocalist/guitarist for The Mavericks, began his set with a haunting rendition of “Indian Love Call.” He kept the audience enthralled to the very end, when he sang a four-song encore, which included the classic “Blue Moon” and Harry Nilson’s sweet “Remember.”
If I had to pick the concert’s highlight, it was Malo’s rendition of “At Last,” which will appear on his newest CD, scheduled for January release. Well, on second thought maybe it was “Besame Mucho.” Wait. Perhaps it was “La Vie En Rose.” Malo and Chevrier tossed tonsils on that one. But maybe the highlight was either “Blue Moon” or “Remember.” You get my point, right? Every number was a highlight.
Because of the Connecticut Sun’s crushing 81-47 victory over the Washington Mystics on August 26, the team gained home court advantage in the playoffs. The playoff game began August 31, at the Palace of Auburn Hills, against Bill Laimbeer’s Detroit Shock. The remaining games will be played at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Some stats: In defeating Washington, Nykesha Sales scored 20 points for the Sun. Lindsay Whalen pumped in 17. Margo Dydek blocked three shots and grabbed 11 rebounds. For Washington, the very physical and talented DeLisha Milton-Jones was high scorer with 11 points. Washington’s shooting percentage was 29.2, a season low.
The Sun finished the regular season with the best record in the WNBA. In fact, the team’s 26 wins were the best in WNBA history. But against Detroit this season, the going has been tough for Connecticut: Detroit emerged victorious three times in four meetings.
I asked several fans for their views about the 2005 season and the Sun’s chances in the playoffs. Said longtime fan Jim LaTourette of Quaker Hill, “It was a great season, with minimal injuries. Now it’s nail biting time. No losing streaks are allowed. We have a very good group of players led by great coaching. I think our chances are good to go all the way.” Waterford’s Bill Maynard said, “The Connecticut Sun is a class act both off and on the court. Great coach, great staff, great team players – thus a great season. They’re deserving of the WNBA championship. Go Sun!”
From Groton, George Marshall summed up the season as “Fantastic! Almost unbelievable! If you had told me at the beginning of the season that they’d win 26 games, I would’ve told you’re dreaming. I would never have thought they would’ve won the Eastern Conference by as much as they did.” As for the playoffs, George said he’s optimistic, adding “I think they’ll go the finals and they have a good chance of knocking off the team who makes it from the Western Conference. They took care of the West during the regular season.”
According to her Web site, as a child during WW II Petula Clark sang for the troops in Piccadilly Circus. When she was sixteen, she had her own television show. In 1949, she recorded her first record. She has been awarded the most gold records in the history of British popular music. The internationally famous Clark appeared at Mohegan Sun Casino’s Cabaret Theater from August 31-September 4.
Clark, still in fine voice, sang her big hits, including “I Know a Place,” “Kiss Me Goodbye,” “I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love,” “Don’t Sleep on the Subway,” “This Is My Song,” and “Downtown.”
In addition, she played the piano and later in the show recited a poem about the theater (“It’s a funny thing, the theater, when you come to think of it/…The magic is here in you, in me. It’s a funny thing, the theater”). Clark chatted and joked with the audience. She offered songs from two films she appeared in, “Finian’s Rainbow” and “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” and talked fondly of Fred Astaire and Peter O’Toole. She also did a tune from “Blood Brothers,” her Broadway debut, and one from “Sunset Boulevard.” (Actress Glenn Close, who played silent screen actress Norma Desmond before Clark, advised Clark not to stay in the production for more than a year. Playing Norma Desmond might make you wacky, Close warned.)
When Eartha Kitt appeared in concert at the Cabaret Theater several months ago, the seventy-eight year old performer told the audience, “I just don’t pay attention to my age.” Apparently Clark, born in 1932, doesn’t either. Like Kitt, Clark is apparently ageless.