Music legend Johnny Mathis brought his Christmas show to Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, CA Tuesday night (12/21). This was a highly anticipated show as it’s been 2 years since Christmas shows took place with there being no live music by the end of 2020. The orchestra played a medley of Christmas classics before Mathis stepped onstage in a white suit looking like a preacher ready to deliver a great service. For 65 years Mathis has been in music starting at the age of 21. Over those six decades Mathis has released over 70 albums, six of which were Christmas albums. Mathis has been dubbed the “Voice of Christmas,” which is easy to see right from the start of his show. On top of all the albums, Mathis has released over 100 singles. Mathis has had five simultaneous albums on the Billboard Charts, which had only been achieved as a singer by Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow.
At 86, Mathis still has an incredible falsetto voice. Mathis performed a set of mostly Christmas classics starting with Winter Wonderland. Mathis performed three of his earliest hits back to back “It’s Not for Me to Say,” “Chances Are,” both released in 1957 followed by Gina released in 1962. Mathis concluded the first set with “We Need a Little Christmas.”
After the ninth song “We Need a Little Christmas,” Mathis’s opening act for over a decade Brad Upton brought some much humour after nearly two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. I would call Upton the legendary singer’s comedian as he’s performed shows with Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, and Dolly Parton. As of 2018, Upton had performed over 6000 shows. Following Upton, there was a 20-minute intermission before Mathis returned to the stage.
Mathis returned to the stage in a black suit. If you’re a Willy Wonka fan you definitely knew the first song of set two “Pure Imagination,” which turned 50 along with the movie this year. Set two was four songs longer and overall 22 songs were performed by Mathis. Set two included more Christmas classics like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and “Sleigh Ride,” with “Mas que Nada/ Brazil” made famous by Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66’ being the last song before the encore. Mathis ended with a one song encore of “Merry Christmas.” Mathis shows no signs of slowing down with over 20 dates booked through October of next year.
- Winter Wonderland- Richard Himber
- It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas- Perry Como
- It’s Not for Me to Say
- Chance Are
- Caroling, Caroling/ Happy Holiday
- Christmas Waltz/ The Christmas Song
- We Need a Little Christmas
- Pure Imagination- Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley
- It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year- Andy Williams
- Sleigh Ride- Leroy Anderson
- Misty- Erroll Garner
- Christmas Time Is Here- Vince Guaraldi
- When a Child Is Born
- It’s Christmas Time Again
- Waiting For You- Jim Brickman
- My Foolish Heart- Victor Young
- 99 Miles From L.A.- Albert Hammond
- The Twelfth of Never
- Mas que nada/ Brazil- Jorge Ben
- Merry Christmas