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Sir Cliff rocks!

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Initial post: 14 Feb 2010 05:58:02 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Feb 2010 06:05:04 GMT
Val H. says:
Okay, so last night when most of Melbourne was going to the second of AC/DC's three sold-out shows, I went to see Cliff & The Shadows. I don't honestly count myself as a Cliff fan and the thought of hanging out with a bunch of geriatrics similar to myself does not excite me at all, but I wanted to celebrate an anniversary. I grew up in what was Southern Rhodesia and not many
overseas acts made their way there in the 60s. When I was 11 (50 years ago), I went to my very first concert - Cliff Richard & The Shadows. They were also my second concert experience - 1963, I think. I can even remember screaming along with all the other teens and pre-teens. I think The Shadows were my main love. I was infatuated with bass player Jet Harris for a long time and was devastated when he left them. Unfortunately he wasn't here (did I hear somewhere he's battling cancer?). But in honour of "our" 50 year anniversary, I thought I really should go and see Sir Cliff and "the boys" and I am so glad I did. It was a truly entertaining night. There were no fancy lighting and stage set-ups, no power point presentations, just Cliff and The Shads doing their stuff. Cliff must have done well over 30 songs (and, hooray, no medleys!) and The Shads about 10 solo numbers. And the best bit was all the set came from the pre-Beatles era - no "Carrie", "Congratulations", "Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha", "Devil Woman", "Wired For Sound", "Constantly", etc. Instead it was "Dynamite", "Move It", "High Class Baby", "Nine Times Out Of Ten" and some more recent covers like "C'mon Everybody", "Sea Cruise" and "Singin' The Blues".

It would be so easy to be cool and say hey, I only went for a laugh but why? What other act in the world has been so consistent for over 50 years? And so loved by their audience? If any Brit is going to stand up and say The Shadows are rubbish, I want to know why!

The number that got the biggest response of the night was "Bachelor Boy" and when Cliff sings

As time goes by I probably will
Meet a girl and fall in love
Then I'll get married have a wife and a child
And they'll be my turtle doves.

there really is no sense of irony because it just doesn't matter any more. Last night nothing mattered - his sexual preference, his religious views, his age (has anyone told Mick Jagger that Cliff's stolen his body?), whether he's had any cosmetic work, etc. I have to admit to shedding a few tears remembering myself at 10, with a Mum and a Dad at home, not a worry in the world, and everything ahead of me. But it wasn't just nostalgia either. The (slightly) updated arrangements were terrific - I never really liked "Visions" much but it came up a treat; the music was first class - Brian Bennett is a great drummer!; and it was just a night of pure joy. I had a little girl behind me who couldn't have been more than eight and I swear she knew the lyrics of at least half the songs.

When the final encore ended with "The Young Ones", again, no hint of irony as we all eased our aching hip-bones out of our seats. Last night we were all young.

So Britain, stand up, be loud and proud, Sir Cliff and The Shadows are national treasures and give them the kudos they deserve.

Now it's back to the real world for me. I've got some great gigs coming up - Nanci Griffith, Wilco, Lyle Lovett, Eddi Reader and a nice little local outfit called Washington. And if I can, I'm hoping to fit in Robert Gordon, Eilen Jewell, The Flatlanders and C.C. Adcock. Pass me the vitamin pills!

Posted on 14 Feb 2010 11:08:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Feb 2010 11:11:05 GMT
Hello Valerie - That sounds like the kind of show he should have put on more often during the last thirty or so years. I always thought Cliff was better if he had the Shadows with him as there'd be more chance of him playing credible material rather than the piffle that has characterised most of his output in my lifetime (Devil Woman excepted - that was a fine single). I've never been bothered about his private life or Christian beliefs - he has been low profile about the one and dignified about the other and he must have iron balls to have taken/ignored the flak and innuendo with such good grace and for so long (Elton, watch and learn...).

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the concert and it does you credit to advocate an artist who is so often a target for scorn - not least from me occasionally over the years. And I wish you a belated welcome to the Amazon fora fold, by the way.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2010 11:16:52 GMT
nocheese says:
Hi Valerie, I read your post with interest. The first single I ever bought was 'Travellin' Light' and for ages it was my only record, played over and over on one of those record players that looked like a small suitcase. I must say I went right off Cliff when he Found God, and have paid little attention to his output since, although as a person he has always fascinated me - so single-minded, and as SC says, dignified in the face of intrusive speculation of all sorts.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2010 12:16:38 GMT
Mark Kibble says:
Whatever turns you on Val, if you enjoyed it thats all that matters, after all it's your ears. I lost interest in Cliff when the short and curlies started to appear and in general I find his music to be rather bland and predictable, but no doubt you wouldn't have enjoyed listening to the band that I went to see on friday.

If as you say, they can still cut it live then why not get out there and play, it maybe keeps them young (at heart), from what you say it gave you a boost and for a while at least transported you back to your tender years ....... now where did I put the movelat?

Good on ya girl.

Posted on 14 Feb 2010 15:40:50 GMT
I've never had a problem with Cliff, sure his recent religous stuff is awful, but he's done some good stuff over the years, 'Move It' is a classic rock 'n' roll track and I still rate 'Devil Woman'!
I find Bono and his pathetic posturing 'stadium rock' far more offensive than Cliff. Glad you enjoyed yourself Valerie!

Posted on 15 Feb 2010 12:21:36 GMT
OK he started out a pretty boy with a silly haircut, his musical direction foretold by chart success and female adulation on an unprecedented scale (they were on the wrong track there eh?). But anyone who doubts Cliff's rock'n roll pedigree should try to get hold of his two albums from 1959.
"Move It" should be on everyone's GodPod.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Feb 2010 11:42:18 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Feb 2010 11:44:28 GMT
I just bought the Shadows complete A & bs, Disc one brilliant with their earlier incantations the Apachhe, Kon Tiki etc etc. By disc 2 we get on to the cringeable lyrics and twee schmaltz vocals, also their instrumentals stop being adventurous and innovative and move to bland safe lets pay the bills stuff. Fine, we all got to eat, but they would have been able to do that any way guiven their talent and ciompositional (tune-wise) ability.
The Shadows were probably responsible for a generation of youngsters taking up the guitar, but no doubt were also the one who encouraged them to lay them down again.

As for Cliff, I'd ghappily donate him some rocks if it'd stop him attempting to sing.

Sorry Valerie, its how I feel about them, but they give million pleasure which is fair enough, though with what good old christian cliff robs people of, cruxifiction should be in order.
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Discussion in:  pop discussion forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  7
Initial post:  14 Feb 2010
Latest post:  16 Feb 2010

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