"This is the best show I've done in 14 years!" Carly Simon declared at the close Friday night of her Galaxy Concert Theatre performance. That statement didn't venture much, since it was also nearly her only performance in as many years. The show, however, merited praise by any measure.
Even in Simon's hit heyday in the '70s, she rarely took to the concert stage, a victim of one of the music industry's more legendary cases of stage fright.
The question one might have raised about her performance Friday--the kickoff of a minuscule mini-tour that brings her to the House of Blues tonight--was, "What stage fright?" Simon's enthusiastically received show was a lesson to other performers in assuredness, ease and intimacy.
Wearing a brown pantsuit, Simon delivered a set that neatly encapsuled her career, including three numbers from her 1994 album, "Letters Never Sent." There were also a few curveballs, including a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Even that mustard-laden melody (which she had sung in the soundtrack to Ken Burns' series on baseball) gave evidence of Simon's vocal charms, with a voice that still can range from fiery to ennui, making pit stops at tender, sultry and spunky.
Two decades later, her "Anticipation" and "Haven't Got Time for the Pain" still came across as songs of considerable intelligence and insight.
For the encore, Simon delivered a gutsy version of "You're So Vain," made no less heated by the enlistment of two very unlikely Mick Jagger surrogates (one in a suit and tie) from the audience to sing along.
* Carly Simon plays tonight at the House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., (213) 650-1451, 9 p.m. Sold out. $50