Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach have been collaborating on records for 25 years (except for one long gap), but until last month they'd never performed together in public. Their concert Friday at the Greek Theatre was well worth the wait. Though most of the selections were oldies, the show was more than just a trip down memory lane--a testimony to the vitality and durability of Bacharach's songs and the awesome power in Warwick's vocals. Though Warwick has long been one of our most gifted singers, she has sometimes seemed haughty and reserved in concert. But the presence of her long-time producer-composer-arranger seemed to bring out the best in her.
The show (the first of three Southland weekend dates) was superbly organized and paced, with both stars on stage for virtually the entire two hours. The two talked and joked freely, not just about "safe" subjects--such as Bacharach's wobbly voice--but also touchy ones--notably their 10-year feud, which ended in 1984. You would expect a concert by these two veterans to be classy and sophisticated, but what made it so memorable was that it was also so dynamic and exciting. Pop concerts just don't get any better than this.