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Johnny Mathis will not turn 83 until Sept. 30, but it might be hard to tell, since he has the energy and build of someone half his age. And then there's his voice, which seems to be ageless.

So it sounded and looked Saturday night at Robinson Performance Hall in Little Rock, as Mathis thrilled a crowd that was surprisingly large considering the rainstorms that rolled through before show time.

Mathis gave the crowd all of his timeless hits that many were there to hear, from "Chances Are" to "Misty," "Wonderful! Wonderful!" "The Twelfth of Never," "A Certain Smile" and on and on. He also had some sweet surprises, such as a medley of Henry Mancini hits, including "Charade," "Days of Wine and Roses" and "Moon River."

He also gave a nice version of "All Alone Am I," a song first made famous by Brenda Lee; "Betcha By Golly Wow," a sweet soul hit for The Stylistics; and "Secret Love," a hit for Doris Day back before Mathis started racking up hits of his own.

He was ably backed up by some core players who have been with him for years, plus a string section and horn section, no doubt supplied by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Mathis was a man of few words, although he did credit his guitarist Gil Reigers for 48 years of superb accompaniment. John Scott Lavender was the conductor and pianist, and was flawless in his role.

Reigers stepped to the front and the two men did a fine version of The Beatles' "Yesterday," and several other songs, including "My Foolish Heart."

Mathis structured his show in unusual fashion, with his "opening act," comedian Gary Mule Deer, not opening, but coming out after about a half-hour, and then delivering some clever jokes and routines for 30 minutes, before Mathis returned, fresh in a new suit and different shoes.

The show ended with a surprisingly raucous version of an old Shirley and Lee hit, "Let the Good Times Roll," sending a room full of fans out into the rain with smiles on their faces.

Metro on 09/09/2018

Print Headline: Ageless Mathis thrills fans with timeless hits

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