Concert Review: Petula Clark, June 17, Queen Elizabeth Theatre


While a punk show at some dingy dive bar is probably more my speed on any given day, I will admit to having a fondness for old school show business and an appreciation of classic pop hits so it wasn’t really too much of a stretch for me to take in Petula Clark’s show this past Monday night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. As far as classic pop songs are concerned, Ms. Clark certainly has that covered latter with bona fide classics like “Don’t Sleep On The Subway”, “Sign of the Times”, and of course “Downtown”, all of which made their way into her set.

As for the old time showbiz vibe, she’s definitely got that covered as well, playing all her hits as well as songs made famous by others as she regaled the crowd with stories from throughout her lengthy career, dropping some impressive names like Fred Astaire, Francis Ford Coppola, John Lennon, and Charlie Chaplin and even throwing in a Glenn Close impression along the way.

The showbiz vibe perhaps went a bit too far for my taste when Clark performed her “60s Medley” which was an economical way to fit many of her old numbers into the set, but which also veered into slightly corny territory with the lyrics linking all those songs together and singing the praises of the ’60s. At times it came dangerously close to SCTV’s old Jackie Rogers Jr sketches.

Still, it was a good medley regardless, and Clark’s band for the evening, made up mostly of a group of Quebec musicians who made the trek along with her after the Montreal show, sounded great on it and everything else. It was especially impressive considering that this was only their second night playing with her (and that they were playing an almost entirely different set than the previous show, which focused on her French language recordings).

One of the highlights of the night that also came as a bit of a surprise was her version of Gnarls Barkley’s 2006 hit “Crazy.” The song’s been covered many times by many others but by adding a bit of that old school showbiz flair, she certainly managed to put her own spin on it. And at 86 years old, Clark’s voice does not seem to have lost much of its lustre. And I don’t just mean her singing voice – that Glenn Close impression was not too bad either.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts