Westport may not be the center of the musical universe.
But last night, it sure came close.
Darlene Love’s first live performance in 2 years thrilled a sold-out Levitt Pavilion crowd.
The singer — who turns 80 this month — gave one of the most memorable performances in the outdoor venue’s 47-year history.
Mixing her Phil Spector hits with gospel and more recent Stevie Van Zandt songs, she owned the stage with a powerful, wide-ranging voice and engaging banter.
As befitting a former backup singer — if you haven’t seen “20 Feet From Stardom,” why not?! — she gave extended solos to a pair of future stars.
Darlene Love was clearly delighted to be back on stage. And — because there are always Westport connections beyond the obvious — one of the key members of her rock-the-house band was our neighbor, saxophonist Crispin Cioe.
He once called Darlene Love his “soul and inspiration.” He’s played with her for over 30 years.
And yes, they both gave a rousing rendition of that Righteous Brothers/Phil Spector song of the same name last night.
Meanwhile, an hour or so earlier and a couple of miles away, Soundview Drive was the stage for a concert of a different kind.
More than half a dozen Broadway stars sang from the front lawn of Karen Elizaga and her husband, Jay Ptashek.
Mixing familiar show tunes with humor — it’s not every day that cars and trucks pass between singers and audience — the singers wowed a crowd arranged in beach chairs, across the street on Compo Beach.
Among the performers: Staples High School graduate Mia Gentile (“Kinky Boots”) and Karen and Jay’s own daughter, Sloane Ptashek.
Admission was free. But anyone could make (and still can!) donations to Broadway for Arts Education. The non-profit provides arts education to underserved youth in New York, Haiti and India.