April 21, 1966
REVIEW: Petula at the Coconut Grove (Los Angeles, CA) by Hank Grant
Making her West Coast nitery debut at the Coconut Grove, Petula Clark should do turn-away business in her short two-week stand. On her jam-packed Tuesday night opening, she proved one of the few singers extant who can make adults listen to rock -n- roll and love it. She should, therefore, not only attract the high school and college crowds, but also businessmen and dowagers for whom the frenetic beat is usually anathema, but not in her case. Unlike her "pop" contemporaries, Miss Clark affects no cheap gimmickry in either vocal style or costume. Indeed, she's a very attractive blonde who, from her polished demeanor, wouldn't have surprised anyone if she'd burst into an operatic aria. She didn't, of course, because she's a pop singer all the way with the added gift of showmanship that conveys the comfortable feeling she enjoys singing so much she'd do it without pay, if need be.
Within her 50-minute turn she concentrates mostly on the rock -n- roll beat, but not to the exclusion of change-of-pace ballads ("If I Ruled the World") or comedy touches ("Only for Americans"). She also appears to be quite a linguist, singing at least two familiar tunes in French and Italian, and her versatility was undoubted when she sat at the keyboard to pound out her own composition, "Two Rivers." In sum, she's not only an ear-and-eye pleaser, but she has an engaging personality with a facility for warm chatter that never seems forced or affected, thus getting easy audience laughs for comedy asides that seem more like personal confidences than flip attempts to be funny. Included in her turn, of course, were several of her record identification hits, most notably "Downtown." Doubling at the piano, her conductor Frank Owens led the Dick Stabile orchestra with faultless precision, and if the brass at tmes was ear-shattering, well, there's no such thing as pianissimo rock -n- roll.
Anthony Newley was on hand to intro Miss Clark after a rousing overture in which Dick Stabile took his sax in hand to lead his band through an exciting arrangement of 'When the Saints Go Marching in."
April 27, 1966
REVIEW: Petula at the Coconut Grove (Los Angeles, CA)
What on earth is Petula Clark doing in the Ambassador's Coconut Grove? You'd be surprised. Among other things, the British-born pop singer is doing her hit Warner Bros. platters with the same vitality that has put her over with the young crowd. Also, she displays an onstage youthful freshness and enthusiasm which belies her longtime overseas show biz career, yet, in perspective, could only be the result of such an extensive background. Her new nitery turn has its ragged edges, but a little more time and grooming will polish her into a big-time, big room attraction.
Hotel prexy G. David Schine has hit his second straight home run, a few weeks ago with Don Ho, who brought a relaxed informal saloon intimacy to the huge Grove, and now with Miss Clark. Her basic 35-minute turn touched a lot of bases, scoring warm mitts each time, with the responses even greater for her platter reprises.
(The) gal's diction is crisp and clear, she is at ease physically, and her patter, while nervous at the onset, and occasionally flip, beckons more assured in time. Her pitch is sure, and delivery generally overcomes an apparent lack of sustaining power.
Miss Clark needs better organized patter, and should discard an occasional tendency to be overstylized, particularly on slower ballads. Pianist Frank Owens directed the 15 tooters in solid support, using first-rate arrangements; his own keyboard work is a big asset.