Industry heavyweights with their kids in tow were among the civilians who welcomed Raffi during the singer’s sold-out stand at the Universal Amphitheatre Saturday, the aisles filling with gyrating children, making the venue look more like a neighborhood gymboree.
Talk about a tough crowd: When the singer performed familiar ditties like “Down by the Bay” he was greeted with unbridled enthusiasm. But songs from his environmentally themed MCA disc, “Evergreen, Everblue”– which were largely unfamiliar to the fruit-snack set — were met, not with silence as adults would respond, but with increased activity in the aisles, sending an unmistakable message to the performer.
It is widely held that Raffi’s reaction to the poorly received disc when it was released in September of 1990 was to take an almost three-year hiatus. Raffi’s return is marked by a 50-city tour, which includes a visit to Broadway in mid-April, a first for a children’s artist.
Raffi’s viewer-friendly demeanor and soothing voice captivated both young and old alike, especially when he stuck to classic Raffi songs like those available on his homevideos. But when he strayed into songs designed for the older ‘tweener set, the gallery shouted requests for faves like “Shake My Sillies Out” and “Apple and Bananas.”
While there’s no doubt that Raffi’s heart is in the right place, he would do well to temper his environmental activism during performances.