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Feliciano is warm, fun and genuine

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JOSE FELICIANO, SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, Orem, Monday.

OREM — Jose Feliciano may make a low-key entrance, dressed casually in jeans and a shirt and strolling onto the stage on the arm of a friend. But once he gets started, you know he's no slouch.

This guy is incredibly talented — on the acoustic guitar, on the electric guitar, on the drums and at the microphone.

You'd almost suspect he's been in show business for a while and maybe taken home a half dozen Grammys. There might be a good reason he's recorded more than 45 records, many of which have gone gold and platinum.

And once he got to his chair on stage Monday night, he lost no time getting into the music and the rhythm. He had everybody swaying, snapping and humming with songs such as "Chico and the Man," "Crazy Heart" and "Dance With Me."

His voice has the same timbre and resonance that fans have loved for decades. He didn't look, act or perform like he's 60.

Yet his performance Monday was all over the place. He did a little original composition, a little improv and a few oldies, but he also took on the low, smokey rock 'n' roll songs.

He even introduced a couple of numbers that haven't been released yet,

Then he proved he can strum the electric guitar with the likes of Jimi Hendrix in "Purple Haze" and croon up there with Nat King Cole with "Unforgettable."

Mostly he was a big hit with the SCERA crowd, filled with the usual gray-haired fans but also with an high number of Spanish-speaking, younger ones. (They got the jokes he threw in in Spanish while the rest of us guessed what he was saying.)

A few oldsters walked out when he got too carried away with the "hard rock," but that was their loss.

Overall, Feliciano's music is warm, fun and genuine, and masterfully performed.

He exuded power in "Listen to the Falling Rain" and heart on songs such as "California Dreaming" and "Que Sera."

His version of "Light My Fire" was breathtaking.

He put on a good show, moving from number to number with fairly little interaction, yet he still connected and made friends as he gently ribbed the audience. "Every time I come to the Mormon state, I feel holy," he said.

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com