Theatre St. Denis
October 28, 2000
Here We Are
Color My World
I'm Not Afraid
World War 2
Look to the Rainbow
How are Things in Glocca Morra
You and I
Que Fais tu la, Petula
Je Me Sens Bien
Don't Sleep in the Subway
If I Had You
Just You, Just Me
I Never Do Anything Twice
Downtown/Sign of the Times
I Know a Place/Round Every Corner
The Other Man's Grass is Always Greener
Kiss Me Goodbye/This is My Song
Tell Me It's Not True
With One Look
Here for You
I Couldn't Live Without Your Love
Tout le Monde Veut Aller Au Ciel, Mais Personne ne Veut Mourir
November 4-10, 2000
November 4-10, 2000
AN EXQUISITE EVENING
The operation was a risk. Preparing a show in a few weeks, with musicians that you do not know very well without having a chance to try it out, is a big thing. However, last Saturday at Theatre St-Denis, Petula Clark succeeded this tour-de-force in offering the audience a fantastic performance. We all wanted to hear her and this lady was happy to please us all. She told us parts of her life, some of it in English and some of it in French. She sang some thirty songs that she's been performing for almost six decades. She has real class, a voice that never seems to be out of breath and songs that she feels from inside. A few highlights of the show were when she performed: I'm Not Afraid, Don't Sleep in the Subway, Downtown, Tell Me It's not True, and Vivre from Notre Dame de Paris. Scott Price did an excellent job at conducting this first class band. An exquisite evening. A priviledged moment.
(Translation by Daniel Bêdard)
The West Island Suburban
November 1, 2000
An unforgettable night with Petula
(by Craig McKee)
Every once in a while a performer comes along who doesn't get the credit she deserves until you see her live.
For me, that performer is Petula Clark.
The full house that was on hand at the St.Denis Theatre on Saturday night was taken on a journey through the life and career of the British superstar --- a career that has lasted more than 50 years.
All but two musicians in her nine-piece band, as well as her four backup singers, were recruited locally, but you wouldn't know they hadn't been together for years.
When Petula broke into our consciousness with Downtown in the mid-1960s, she seemed to be made for the time. The songs and her voice seemed quintessentially British. I saw her for the first time when the Ed Sullivan Show taped at Expo 67 in Montreal. And even as an eight-year-old I knew that I loved that music.
When I found out she was coming back to Montreal I was anxious to hear the old hits again. And while I loved hearing them all as much as I could have hoped, I was pleasantly thrilled at how much I loved the more unfamiliar material that she shared with the audience. It really gave me the opportunity to appreciate --- more than I perhaps had before --- just how great a performer Clark is. At 68, she looks great and her voice, if anything, is better than ever. And her stage persona is so down to earth and charmingly vulnerable that you can't help but like her.
Clark moved easily between English and French, both in her descriptions of her career and life and in her songs. She performed a variety of French songs, some from her past as a recording star in France. She sang Un Enfant by Jacques Brel, her early hit Que Fais-tu lą Petula ?, Je Me Sens Bien, Coeur Blessê as well as crowd favourite Tout le Monde... in her encore.
She also threw in French verses in some of her best known English hits. For those who prefer that part of her repertoire, she didn't leave anything out. She gave us wonderful renditions of Tony Hatch compositions like Downtown, Don't Sleep in the Subway, I Know a Place, I Couldn't Live Without Your Love, Colour My World, Sign of the Times, The Other Man's Grass is Always Greener, and My Love. She also sang the Charlie Chaplin penned This is My Song.
While I went to the concert knowing how much I loved these hits, I came away with a vastly increased respect for Petula's talent as a singer. Her performances of songs from her Broadway career like Sunset Boulevard, Blood Brothers, and from her films Finian's Rainbow and Goodbye Mr. Chips really showed her considerable abilities as a vocalist. In one touching moment, she sang about World War II while a recording of her singing on the BBC at the age of eight played in the background.
All in all, it was a wonderful night that I'll never forget. We can only hope she comes back very soon. Don't miss her if she does.
(Transcribed by Charles-Andrê Ferron)
Le Devoir - Toujours Petula
Review en francais
Charmed? I was since the interview. A Fan? I am since childhood, and am able
to sing "Don't Sleep In The Subway" on request. But delighted , and
completely happy to have seen and heard Petula Clark on stage? Only since
Saturday night at the Thêātre St-Denis. Like everyone in the audience who
noticed at the same time as me the evidence: the performer is tremendous,
woman in her sixties is dazzling, and the individual is irresistibly cute.
Petula? Where simplicity, grace and greatness meet. Likewise for intelligence, sensitivity and funniness. And common sense in addition. These English words are wanted . (N.B. In the original French text, words are purposely left in English) It's to do like her. Must one recall that Petula Clark made her career in both of our (in Canada) official languages, English and French, that she was the darling child of the United Kingdom, then the darling yêyê (60's pop star) of France, before becoming the world-renowned Petula of "Downtown" in the middle of the groovy sixties?
She could have unloaded an American style show , especially after a quarter century's absence from the Quêbec stage, but not at all: almost all of the songs-even the recent ones' lyrics were completely bilingual. Up to the introductions which benefited from the same generous treatment without our ever having the impression of a simultaneous translation. She's a natural at that. That's the word: Petula Clark is a sacred nature. Perfectly at ease on stage, unusually bright, and bluntly can't be taken down, either by a badly tied dress which comes apart in the middle of a medley: the Welsh woman made a small sign to the dresser who adjusted the dress in front of the audience. "One of those funny things about the theater", says the singer in a poem about her belief in the world of the stage.
In fact, the entire show was presented as a musical which would have had Petula Clark as its subject. It's hard to imagine a more skillful way in which to put into context more than sixty years of a career (she sang for the troops "during World War ll.": all the steps of her journey became as much a scene (in a play) , where the balance between stories and songs was ideal.
A "reunion" sequence(Here We Are, Colour My World), little girl segment(a crackling sounding recording of Petula at the BBC Overseas Service, put in perspective by "Un Enfant" written by Brel), a cinema (motion picture )medley(excerpts from Finian's Rainbow and Goodbye Mr. Chips), yêyê sequence (Que fais-tu lą, Petula?, La Gadoue, Chariot, Coeur blessê), sixties trip (Sign Of The Times, I Know A Place, This Is My Song, Downtown), almost nothing essential was forgotten in the show, without neglecting the present: the samples from the plays Blood Brothers & Sunset Boulevard, recent additions to the repertoire, pleased as much as the hits.
Even her version of Vivre (yes, the one from Notre-Dame de Paris) would not have spoiled the whole: I appreciated Plamondon.(Quebec composer who wrote "Vivre"), up to the orchestra- made up of Quebecers of whom Petula knew each musician's first name. Petula Clark would have been at the impossible summit of her legend, showing of herself a human side: accessible, passionate and whole. Quite a dame, I must say.
[French translation courtesy of Jean Thivierge]
The Globe and Mail
Bilingual Clark wows Montreal
Switching between French and English, the singer displayed an easy charm and a strong buoyant voice.
By Martin Siberok
Thêātre St. Denis, Montreal on Saturday
Petula Clark would make a perfect Canadian -- the fluently bilingual
kind that Pierre Trudeau dreamed this country would produce.
Switching effortlessly between French and English, Clark took over
Thêātre St. Denis Saturday night. This was the only Canadian date on
her North American tour, which picks up in California next month, and
she was making the most of being in Montreal.
The last time Clark played this city was in 1976. It was a period of heightened political tension, and the singer's determination to switch between English and French was not well received by some fans and critics. Her return almost a quarter of a century later was much more welcoming, signalling a markedly different social reality in Quebec. Clark is an international star, and the audience proved it can now appreciate a celebrity of her stature without feeling threatened by her easy bilingualism.
The former child star -- who turns 68 on Nov. 15 -- is clearly at home on any stage. Acting the gracious host, Clark guided her fans through a Vegas-style evening dedicated to her 60-year career. From her early days entertaining the Allied troops during the Second World War, to being an "Anglais" star in France, to the pop-filled sixties, to her Hollywood films and Broadway musicals, Clark has always revealed herself as a consummate performer. Over the years, she has sold nearly 70 million records in four languages -- English, French, Italian and German -- and is still the most successful female singer in British chart history.
So it was rewarding to see how well her voice has survived the years. Strong and buoyant, it showed no signs of faltering as Clark tackled a variety of styles -- jazz, pop, British music-hall numbers, French chansons and Broadway tunes. And with most of her songs clocking in at the three-minute mark, Clark was able to cover a lot of territory in a scant two hours.
Her pop days were rolled into a sixties medley, with snippets of I Know A Place, A Sign of the Times and My Love, and culminating in an extended version of Downtown, thanks to additional French verses. The seven-song medley served as a worthy tribute to the singer's fruitful collaboration with songwriter Tony Hatch -- Britain's answer to Burt Bacharach -- whose elegant arrangements were some of the best of that decade.
Throughout her career, Clark has had many admirers, including John Lennon, Michael Jackson and Sheryl Crow, as well as Canadian piano virtuoso Glenn Gould, who said that her work with Hatch was better than the Beatles. Highlights of the evening's well-paced repertoire were a stunning rendition of Don't Sleep in the Subway, with its rich Beach Boy-esque harmonies, a rousing Tell Me It's Not True from the Blood Brothers musical, and I Am Not Afraid, a candid testimonial about being forever in the public eye.
As Clark confessed, "Growing up in front of millions wasn't fun." Despite building a solid career in Britain in the forties as a Shirley Temple equivalent, Clark felt stifled by fans who wouldn't allow her to grow up.
It was only when she moved to France in the late 1950s, and started performing sophisticated French pop songs written by Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg, that she was finally able to shake her image of the eternal adolescent.
For the evening's largely francophone crowd, Clark sang many of her French hits, such as Que fais-tu la Petula? and Chariot, as well as adding French lyrics to several of her English songs. As a treat for her Montreal fans, she covered a stirring Vivre, taken from the Notre-Dame de Paris musical written by local hero Luc Plamondon.
When the show concluded and Clark basked in the limelight, several male fans rushed the stage to offer her bouquets of red roses. It was a fitting gesture for a seasoned performer who proved beyond a doubt that she deserves all the accolades she has received.
[Photos by Karl Andrê]
[Photo by Jim Noll]