22 December 2017 (gig)
27 December 2017
Petula Clark is just about the definition of tenacious.
While mostly known as a singer, Clarks impressive career actually spans back to 1939 - and she has also been a successful actress (on stage and screen) and songwriter.
The word retirement is apparently not in her vocabulary, as 2017 saw her (at 85 years young) release a new album, "Living For Today" (Sony), and is currently fronting her first US tour in eons. Clark performed at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Massachusetts on December 22, 2017.
A natural spitfire, she opened with her 1966 tune, "You and I" (which was later featured in the 1969 film "Goodbye Mr. Chips," for which Clark co-starred with Peter O'Toole), which flowed into "Meant To Be" before she unearthed,"Don't Sleep in the Subway," a bouncy harmonious song, that almost masks the more serious subject matter of one partner warning her stubborn significant other against braving the elements after a quarrel.
A sensual rhythm section filled cover of the Peggy Lee classic "Fever," showed Clark can still be sassy. Clark spoke of her admiration for Lee, and how she initially had refused to cover Lee's vintage number (fortunately, her mind was changed as it was a marvelous rendition). Clark donned an Irish brogue for "Look to the Rainbow" and "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” Both of these tunes are from the 1968 movie/musical, "Finnians Rainbow" (which Clark starred in with Fred Astaire. The film was also directed by a very young Francis Ford Coppola).
A huge admirer of the Fab Four, Clark covered both The Beatles "Blackbird" (which she joking said was written by "Stella McCartneys father"), and John Lennons "Imagine." Lee also reminisced about meeting Lennon in Canada during his famous "bed in". "Fever" and Blackbird" are both included on her new disc.
Not just intent on playing her greatest hits, Clark ventured into Broadway territory crooning out "With One Look," from Sunset Boulevard (not surprising, as Clark had performed the part of Norma Desmond on the stage), and early 80s rock, covering Steve Windwoods 1980 infectious tune, "While You See A Chance," although Clarks version was a much more slowed down take on the song.
Another nice surprise was a visit back to her pre-British Invasion hit "This is My Song" (which had been made famous by silent film legend, Charlie Chaplin (Clark told a story of once going to Chaplins home. And from what she said, he could make a good cup of “English tea”).
Clarks most well know song, "Downtown" (which also found a new life in 2016, with its inclusion in the commercial for “WWE 2K17,” a professional wrestling video game) brought the audience to its feet. before she ended the night with "Rainbow."
It was a grand return for such a multi-talented legend.