Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Petula Clark at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Born in Epsom, Surrey, England, Sally Clark's stage name was invented by her father; he joked it was a combination of the names of two former girlfriends, Pet and Ulla. Petula Clark began singing as a child in 1942 on BBC Radio during an air raid in World War II. Nicknamed the "Singing Sweetheart," she performed for King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and was considered a mascot by the British Army, whose troops plastered her photos on their tanks for good luck as they advanced into battle. She hosted her own television show and appeared in feature films beginning in the 1940s, and started her singing career in the 1950s recording in German, French, Italian and Spanish. Americans came to know her when she rode the British Invasion during the early 1960s; the number one "Downtown" was the first of 15 consecutive Top 40 hits Clark achieved in the United States. Clark's most recent English language album, From Now On, was released in October 2016. Clark is presently based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Petula Clark's career in entertainment has spanned eight decades, but at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill the 85-year-old vocalist limited her retrospective to her music and adventures from the 1960s while also introducing songs from her most recent album. Significantly autobiographical and presented as cabaret, Clark relayed charming anecdotes prior to most songs, telling of her interactions with Fred Astaire in the musical film Finian's Rainbow, Charlie Chaplin on the soundtrack to the film A Countess from Hong Kong, Glenn Close in the stage version of Sunset Boulevard, and John Lennon, with whom she sang backup on "Give Peace a Chance." Backed by a quintet, Clark sang her hits and cover songs. Her vocals were limited in range, but she knew what to do with it, lowering her pitch when the original versions rose too high. She changed "My Love" into a country hoedown, combined "I Know a Place" and "A Sign of the Times" into a medley, and engaged the audience in a singalong for "Downtown." One may never again hear a swinging octogenarian with such a high-flying spirit.

Visit Petula Clark at www.petulaclark.net.

Setlist:
  1. You and I / Meant To Be
  2. Don't Sleep in the Subway
  3. Fever (Peggy Lee cover)
  4. Look to the Rainbow
  5. How Are Things in Giocca Morra?
  6. My Love
  7. From Now On
  8. Blackbird (The Beatles cover)
  9. Imagine (John Lennon cover)
  10. With One Look (Andrew Lloyd Webber cover)
  11. Who Am I / Colour My World
  12. This is My Song (Charlie Chaplin cover)
  13. Living For Today
  14. I Know a Place / Sign of the Times
  15. While You See a Chance (Steve Winwood cover)
  16. I Couldn't Live Without Your Love
  17. Downtown
  18. Rainbow