by: Magda Katz
On Friday March 28, 2014, legendary singer Johnny Mathis weaved his magic to a full house at the New Jersey Performing Art Center (NJPAC).
For many in the audience, Johnny Mathis sang the soundtrack of their lives. They came to hear the familiar songs and Mathis did not disappoint. With hits like “Wonderful, Wonderful,” It’s not for Me to Say” and “Chances Are,” a nostalgic feeling washed over the audience as they connected with a friend that they have known since childhood.
Mathis’ lilting, multi-octave angelic voice is as soothing today as it was when he began his recording career. He kept the talking between songs to a minimum and gave the audience what they came for, creating a longing for a simpler time. A time when a teenage boy would put on a Johnny Mathis recording hoping to “make out” with his girl.
While Mathis left the stage to change his clothes, he left the audience in good hands with funny man, comic Brad Upton.
After intermission, Mathis brought his guitarist of 43 years, Gil Reigers, to perform several duets. Hearing the simple strums of the guitar and Mathis’ voice, one realizes what makes him an enduring super star. Mathis and Reigers ended with a set of Brazilian music.
After thanking the musicians, Mathis said good-by and walked off stage but the audience would not leave and shouted for more. He graciously returned and sang the haunting “You’ll Never Know” to a hushed crowd.