- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One name topped the bill, but in the end, two Carly Simons showed up for Tuesday’s concert at DAR Constitution Hall.

The first performed songs from her latest album, “Moonlight Serenade,” a collection of classic American pop standards released earlier this year.

Somewhat stymied by arrangements that had her nearly singing bass, she nonetheless soldiered through four selections (“The More I See You,” “Alone Together,” “I Only Have Eyes for You” and the familiar title track by Glenn Miller) — thanks in part to stellar backing from her musicians (notably Everett Bradley on percussion, guitarist Peter Calo and saxophonist Jimmy Roberts).

Then the real Carly Simon showed up, acoustic guitar in hand, for her first local appearance in more than 15 years.

“Anticipation,” her groundbreaking 1971 hit, set the night in motion, inspiring the first of four standing ovations.

From there, the Simon force was in full effect, with the Oscar- and Grammy-winning publishing heiress rockin’ steady for nearly two hours.

Stunning daughter Sally and hunky son Ben (offspring of her nine-year marriage to singer-songwriter James Taylor) were on hand to support mom with background vocals.

Not that she needed it.

Radiant in a flowing white skirt and multicolored beret, Miss Simon, a 60-year-old breast cancer survivor, ruled the stage — blazing through her long string of best-sellers with the energy and zest of rock stars half her age.

The hits, mainly from her “Anticipation,” “No Secrets” and “Boys in the Trees” heyday of the 1970s, rolled out nonstop before Miss Simon’s quick break for a costume change. Cheers erupted as the notoriously stage shy Miss Simon cranked out “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain,” “You Belong to Me” (buoyed by Mr. Roberts’ fluid sax riffs), “We Have No Secrets” and “Legend in Your Own Time” with complete abandon.

She also performed “Are You Lonely Here With Me,” a country-and-Western-inspired ballad co-written by close friend Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, who, along with his wife, Elaine, was spotted in the near-capacity crowd of mostly baby boomers.

Following a splendid musical interlude by masterful guitarist Peter Calo, Miss Simon — now clad in black silk pants with a matching sequin-trimmed halter — re-emerged to continue her 18-song set, kicking off the second half with “Summer’s Coming Around Again,” “Jesse” (her lament about a ne’er-do-well lover from 2002’s “Anthology”) and a slower-paced version of “Let the River Run,” her Oscar-winning composition from the 1988 film “Working Girl.”

Of course, no Carly Simon concert would be complete without “You’re So Vain” — a song in which the identity of its anonymous narcissist (long rumored to be either Playboy founder Hugh Hefner or actor Warren Beatty) remains one of rock’s greatest mysteries more than 30 years after its release.

In the show’s final moments, son Ben returned for a duet of “Mockingbird,” Miss Simon’s 1974 hit with Mr. Taylor. Next, daughter Sally joined in for a touching family performance of her dad’s “You Can Close Your Eyes.”

Miss Simon’s rousing finale, “Nobody Does It Better,” ended the near-perfect night on a satisfying high that had many concertgoers dancing in the aisles.

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