Review: Stepping out with Petula Clark

May 21, 2017

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Venue: State Theatre, Sydney
Date: May 20, 2017
By Guest Celebrity Reviewer

WELL...WHAT AN EXPERIENCE it was to see one of my idols, PETULA CLARK, in concert.

It was fantastic! Lots of colleagues and Aussie showbiz royalty in attendance to witness (as the marquee stated) 'a true legend'.

Petula Clark

Petula Clark

At 84 years of age, Miss Clark would put many performers half her age to shame.

She performed 2 x 60 min sets to an appreciative and sold out (2000+) audience.

She looked sprightly and totally engaged, whilst still maintaining her very laid back style.

A true star, such as Miss Clark, has nothing to prove...she knew it...and so did the audience. No fanfare, no voice-overs, no overture...she just walked on...and did what she does best...perform from her heart.

She looked great, wearing very appropriate and stylish sequined tops with full-length chiffon skirts with...get this...platform heels! (I was sitting in the 4th row. I thought she looked at least 20 years younger than she really is!).

The set list contained a selection of her biggest hits (many of which were given a 'new' feel or 'take' via arrangements) mixed with some originals and covers from her two most recent CDs.

She also performed several songs in French. Miss Clark is a HUGE star in France being one of few performers who enjoyed chart success as a bi-lingual recording artist.

Her voice is still strong, raunchy, clear and powerful on the top notes whilst also able to display tenderness, conviction, and intimacy in the more emotive songs.

Her patter was sprinkled with anecdotes of working with people like Fred Astaire, Charles Aznavour, Glenn Close and more - not in a 'name dropping' way...she was merely stating facts.

She even introduced a hauntingly beautiful version of Paul McCartney's song "Blackbird" by stating that it was written by 'Stella's Dad'!

On several occasions, she paid tribute to Jackie Trent and Tony Hatch, who were (of course) responsible for composing many of her most successful hit songs.

At the end of the show, her penultimate number was her biggest hit - "Downtown".

As the entire audience, young and old alike, stood up and sang along to the refrain (at her encouragement) it became very obvious that I was witnessing something special - seeing a legend perform the hit that she herself made famous - worldwide.

There are few stars left from her era...even fewer who still can perform like she does.

As I stood there, singing along, I shed several tears.

I was really struck by the fact that I was witnessing a little bit of history. Perhaps I was watching this woman perform on the last time she will tour here? Who knows how much longer she can go on??? Although based on tonight's performance - she may just prove me wrong.

Bravo Miss Clark; my enduring admiration for you was renewed tonight. The billing on the marquee was, for once, not hyperbole; you ARE a TRUE LEGEND! Thank you.

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