The Adelaide Entertainment Centre was in an "all-new intimate cabaret mode" for Petula. There was candlelight dining at round tables seating ten on the floor and elevated seating on all sides. 4000 plus seats sold. Kylie Minogue, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, are acts coming to this venue, not in intimate mode, seating 10,000. The serving of meals was an experiment- exclusive wines was part of the dealů
The house was full. Standing ovation. The audience loved her and didn't want her to finish, and sang along a lot to the hits, and the hard floor reverberated to much foot-tapping. The programme was the same as Perth, I think. "I know a Place" at the end got perhaps a hundred people up on the floor at the front dancing.
The event was sponsored by a winery and 5DN, an easy-listening radio station that has very popular horrendous reactionary talkback through the night - me and my two friends who accompanied me had forgotten the station existed, not having listened to it for twenty years unless trapped in taxis. The audience was a diverse general conservative one, typically Adelaidean. Unlike the opening night at the Sydney Hilton Hotel in 1986, my previous exposure to Petula live, which was of necessity smaller and a veritable who's who of the Australian entertainment scene.
We three were in relatively low spirits on arrival -one of our party had suffered an horrific family break-up the day before - yet the concert left us in a radiant uplifted state that lasted all the next day too. We loved it. My two friends were not diehard fans, though they liked her previously and one had been lucky enough to see her in "Sunset" in London in 1997. I've been a fan thirty years since I was ten.
We felt bathed in her radiance, in her talent, which kept sweeping over us in waves, with warmth, with sometimes self-deprecating humour - very English. These are my friends' comments.
Pet at the piano was astonishingly impressive, as was just about everything. The song listed on the Perth Concert programme on-line as "Mon Coeur qui Bat" ( I think a French translation of "Heart" ) turned out to be Piaf's "La Vie en Rose". A highlight for sure.
It's a pity that "Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton" is the only remnant of variety on Australian television on which Petula could appear - it's all that left. As an aside, the expat Australian writer Tom Arden has a funny black play on the net about a character like Bert on the web at www. tomarden. com under early writings, "The Merv Merry Show."
Pet looked beautiful and ridiculously young onstage, her voice was glorious and as good if not better than ever.
I succumbed and bought a "Legends" CD even though I had all the tracks already, just so I had something for her to sign, as did one of my friends. These were sent backstage and delivered back by her Manager, a big man, who made an extra trip to check if my name was spelt with a 'c' or a 'k' which I appreciated. He explained she couldn't see visitors as there was a big day travelling to Melbourne the next day, and,I think, a concert that night. Fair enough. But there were some dozen or so whom I assume had been granted permission as I saw them troop back happily.
We three wandered to the back of the large white floodlit building to the loading bay at the rear- quite a walk - and by the time we were slowly walking down the ramp, three Gay guys in black suits, a whiter limo was just as slowly coming up. Each party advanced without acceleration steadily towards one another. No-one else in sight. White building, limo, giant fluorescents, moon.. Surreal. The vehicle stopped and a window went down. A lttle white hand emerged. Two of us kissed it briefly in turn. We told her how we'd loved it all. She said she'd love to see our countryside. Her eyelashes were huge. Her skin was very white. She was dressed in black and would have disappeared all together into the darkness of the interior of the limo with its deep dark plush seating, had it not been for the whiteness of her pale face, her wondrous blonde hair and her jewellery. I thanked Petula for stopping as they slowly drove away.