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The Legendary 'Pet' Still Puts On A Great Show
She was my first music idol while growing up at the height of her success and fame in the 1960s. So, what a special treat it was for me to finally see Petula Clark live on stage for the very first time, albeit a few decades late, as she performed at Birmingham Town Hall during her latest UK tour. It was almost like going back in time to meet your own childhood. But, despite the years that have passed in between, Petula remains every inch the star today, as this superb two-and-a-quarter hour concert well and duly demonstrated.
Petula, whose incredible international career has spanned more than seven decades, clearly shows no sign of bowing out, or slowing down, just yet as she embarks on her new From Now On tour. Not for nothing is she the best selling British female artist in recording history with more than 68 million records sold worldwide - and counting, with the release of her new From Now On album. Ms Clark, who dispensed with the need for a support act, did have the excellent backing of a splendid five-piece band who, like the star of the show, clearly seemed to enjoy their time on stage. With such an incredible back catalogue of songs, many of them hits, it must have been hard to cram everything in, but a sixties medley certainly helped.
Petula seen in 2012. By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19789078
Early on we had the first of the many classic hits which made Petula such a global household name in the 1960s, with a rendition of Don't Sleep In The Subway. And other wonderful, timeless masterpieces followed regularly throughout including Colour My World, My Love Is Warmer Than The Sunshine, which was given a country 'n western flavour, I Know A Place, the still beautiful This Is My Song, and finishing up with I Couldn't Live Without Your Love and the inevitable but still cherished Downtown.
Through it all came the wondrous memories, of meeting Charlie Chaplin in Geneva, where they both lived at the time, of working with a young session musician called Jimmy Page, and singing with Peggy Lee - a prelude to her version of Fever. And there was also what she described as "one of the most joyous times in my life" when she danced with the legendary Fred Astaire on the film Finian's Rainbow, which they both starred in.
But as well as the welcome old hits there was plenty of much newer material to prove that Petula remains very much active. As well as songs from her new album, including title track From Now On, new single release, Sacrifice My Heart, and a lovely rendition of Paul McCartney's Blackbird, she also performed numbers from her previous 2013 release, Lost In You, ranging from the recent Gnarls Barkley hit We're Crazy to Never Enough.