Star still bright for Petula Clark
By VlNCE COADY
Journal Staff Writer
"Downtown, where all the lights are bright."
"OK, so the lights in downtown Edmonton may not have been all that bright, but Petula Clark certainly has the spark to help fire up the city.
The lady may he small (five feet two inches) but she's a powerhouse of talent
Looking radiant in a long white form-fitting dress and gold overjacket, Clark had little trouble generating respect and love from a small but appreciative audience during her opening show Wednesday night.
From the familiar high voltage opening number, "Don't Sleep in the Subway,"she amply demonstrated why her star still shines.
Aside from her still fine voice, one of the main reasons for her longevity as an entertainer is her ability to adapt to change, or perhaps adapt change to her style.
While she sang many of her familiar hits, she also sang some more contemporary songs.
It is to her credit, however, that she selected only the best material and singers.
While not too many singers would attempt to sing the incredible Stevie Wonder's new song, "I Just Called to Say I Love You," Clark not only dared to do to so, but in her own way made it sound even lovelier. And you could almost feel the room get warmer as she sang "You Are the Sunshine of My Life." She was glowing in her praise of Wonder: "You have seen us through the night, even though you have not seen the light of day."
And Lionel Richie's "Hello" perhaps never sounded more sincere.
She didn't forget her roots, however, singing Charlie Chaplin's beautiful song from the Countess of Hong Kong. "This is My Song" in both English and French.
A sample of her humor was also demonstrated in her special tribute to Margaret Thatcher in a medley of songs: "Don't Give Up," "Tomorrow and "Look for the Silver Lining."
While she did not star in "The Countess From Hong Kong," she did sing "How Are Things in Gloccamorra" (sic) from one of her own films, Finian's Rainbow.
She quickly livened things up again with a rousing rendition of "Out Here on My Own" from the film Fame.
Clark's backup group, which includes a horn section, offered fine support under the direction of pianist Kenny Clayton.
Perhaps the only sour note of the evening was the small turnout. Stars of the calibre of Miss Clark deserve better support.
It might encourage them to return.