FROM NOW ON TOUR
WYCOMBE SWAN THEATRE
7th OCTOBER 2016
For seven decades Petula Clark has been performing and entertaining audiences all over the world and with a recording career as illustrious as hers, it would be easy to spend an entire tour looking back at the older material. However, Petula would be the first to admit that she's not a fan of heavy nostalgia, so From Now On, her aptly named new album and tour, takes a very clear look at some choice songs from her latest release, along with revisiting some old favourites too.
At nearly 84 she looks stunning as she takes to the stage just a few nights into a full-scale UK tour. Her elegance, undeniable stage presence and ability to captivate a crowd is second to none. Opening with You and I from Goodbye Mr Chips followed by the classic 'Pet' classic, Don't Sleep In The Subway has the crowd geared up for an introduction to some a new songs including; a excellent and understated cover of Steve Winwood's While You See A Chance and the lead single Sacrifice My Heart.
Petula is a total professional down to her toes, whether playing the piano, regaling stories behind the songs, or dealing with a minor wardrobe mishap (for which she is ferociously apologetic for) that holds up the show for a few minutes. Unlike the pop princesses of today, Petula is totally natural on stage, there's certainly no false modesty here, just genuine humility, charm and natural talent. Her voice is still instantly striking, although thinner than you may remember it, but no less powerful and emotive. The older tracks like Colour My World, Sailor and I Know A Place are dealt with fun and affection, and possibly more for the benefit of the audience than herself. It appears as though Petula is a tad more at ease with the newer material, I guess the songs are still new to her in many ways, certainly from a performance point of view. Of course, there are a few exceptions; Your Song, Downtown and I couldn't Live Without Your Love – some of the most timeless songs ever written and songs that she clearly still enjoys every note of.
As much as Petula may say she's nothing like Sunset Boulevard's Norma Desmond, a character she's played many times on stage, like Norma, she has the ability to hold a crowd with a smile or a glance and convey any emotion. But it's Petula who perhaps, albeit inadvertently, says it best during her introduction to With One Look, a song from the musical, where she explains what a great star Norma was, is, and always will be.
After seeing such a legendary performer tonight, clearly, where she was born to be, I'd say the same was true of Petula Clark too.