On the town with Regis & Kathie Lee

NEW ORLEANS — Regis and Kathie Lee brought their stage show to town last week, and it was everything one would expect.

Performing before a crowd so rapturous that the evening seemed a cross between a revival meeting and a rock concert, Philbin and Gifford opened the show singing “When You’re Smiling,” and closed with “What a Wonderful World.”

Gifford sang a lot of oldies as a tribute to Dick Clark and confided to the audience that her husband, Frank, was home, – “but he sends his love to all of you.” Philbin offered a retrospective of his career, relating anecdotes about Liberace and Eddie Fisher and singing such tunes as “Lady of Spain” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

For two hours, they alternated duo and solo spots. So it was them, then her, then him, then them, then her, then him, then them again. During the entire time, fans whooped and waved, and filled the aisles as they ran down to be closer to the revered performers. (At one point, an excited woman rushed onstage and grabbed a microphone to exclaim to Philbin, “I’m a real Cajun woman!”)

The two, who have been touring for years with this program, were here to tout their talker at the NATPE confab.

While that syndication carnival held such highlights as a reception to celebrate Ricki Lake’s impending motherhood and a concert featuring Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson and Iron Butterfly, few could dispute that this concert at the New Orleans Theater for the Performing Arts was a real highlight.

However, the excitement of the evening raises a nagging question: Leeza Gibbons isn’t going to start a nightclub act, is she?

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