By Bethonie Butler
Updated August 03, 2020 at 08:03 PM EDT

Complete the following statement. This weekend I heard _______:

a) Mandy Moore drop the f-bomb
b) the Dawson’sCreek theme performed LIVE
c) Mandy Moore play the guitar
d) all of the above

Okay. Sorry if I insulted your intelligence there. (I’m not one for subtlety.) The answer is of course, (d) — I’m not random enough to have made up any of those other possible answers. Yes, this weekend I saw the Mandy Moore/Paula Cole show in NYC.

I’ll put the disclaimers out now. I am one of those girls whonot only owns a copy of A Walk to Remember, but also cries every time I watch it. Mandy’s music (and acting) has always been sort of a guilty pleasure for me. I know all of her big singles by heart. And I’ve always thought she was an adorable, talented girl.

I don’t think there’s any question as to whether Ms. Moore can sing (if there is, I’ll clear it up right now by saying there was no lip-syncing at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza, Saturday night). Mandy, having shunned her bubblegum-pop past, now seems perfectly comfortable as a musician (yes, a musician!) knitting a sound that’s not quite pop, not quite folk, not quite rock.

Where, upon evolving to other genres, other musicians have failed to retain some of their early audiences (see: Carey, Mariah and Stefani, Gwen), these ladies still drew a good number of teenagers. Of course, there were also some of the 21-and-over crew. (I know this because when she asked everyone to raise their drinks before performing ”Looking Forward to Looking Back,” I counted no less than seven upraised glasses.) And so I got the feeling that Moore still has many of the fans she had in her ”Candy” days. She even performed said sugary ditty, but only after proclaiming that the song meant ”Abso-f—ing nothin.” She also performed an airy rendition of this summer’s anthem, Umbrella, with pretty much everyone in the room singing along. So, yes, seeing Mandy was great. But what I heard next left me with this big question: Why didn’t I know how good Paula Cole is?

addCredit(” Joe Kohen/”)

Cole, back after an eight-year hiatus, took the stage after Mandy. The singer-songwriter mostfamous for the introspective 1996 hit, ”I Don’t Want to Wait” (perhaps better known as “the song they played at the beginning of Dawson’s Creek”) has returned the music scene with a new album, Courage. Aside from the Creek theme — which has a permanent place in my sub-conscious, due to an everlasting love for Joey Potter — the only Paula Cole song I remember is ”Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” Oddly enough, I have a very vivid memory of sitting in the back of my family’s pick-up truck listening to that hit on the radio. If it hadn’t been the same year this song and this song came out, I probably would have paid more attention to it. EW did.I won’t miss my second opportunity to get to know Paula Cole. Half of the audience filed out after Mandy Moore performed. I’m glad I stuck around.