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Cliff Richard: Live in Sidney (blu ray): fantastic 2 hour concert; Cliff in top form & in HD; great video & audio!
on 6 March 2016
Sir Cliff’s latest concert, Still Reelin’ And A-Rockin’ – Live in Sidney arrives on blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080i 1.78:1 encode. This concert was filmed in Sidney’s Opera House in February 2013, before he recorded his latest album The Fabulous Rock ‘N’ Roll Songbook in Nashville in April, 2013. The video was very pleasing with enough details. Colour was adequate on the whole, while Cliff’s red jacket in the second half of the show really stood out, together with matching red stripes on her denim pant and matching red running shoes. Skin tone was natural. There was very little close-up on Sir Cliff, but close ups on the backup singers, especially Suzie Furlonger, showed quite a bit of details. I know it was a rock n roll concert, but I did not appreciate the white clouds of fog which seemed to slightly blur the image. When you watch the Bonus, you will appreciate how great the lighting in Sidney’s Opera House, and extra lighting used so that we can see the audience better. (4.5/5)
This concert comes with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. Somehow I felt that the recorded volume was turned up a little too much. When I used my regular volume, I found the sound was simply too loud. So turn down the volume and experiment until you find the right volume. The sound was very well recorded. In the Bonus, you will learn the adjustment Cliff’s crew had to adjust to the sound of the Opera House which was more suited to classical music and opera. Fortunately with proper adjustment, and large curtains in the Opera house, the final sound was fantastic. Cliff was in top form and you can hear the singing and dialogue cleanly and crisply. The band was very tight. Andy Jones’s guitar play was great, but he was no Hank Marvin. The soul of the band belongs to Keith Hayman with his magical keyboards. The audio is totally enjoyable. (5/5)
CONCERT & CONTENT:
The concert was 2 hours 8 minutes. Cliff was wearing the Beatle-ish hairstyle, that made him look much younger than 73 years old. His voice was in top form especially in the latter part of the show, when he hit those high notes with no difficulty in the typical Cliff Richard style, songs like Ocean Deep. Cliff is such an all round entertainer, cracking jokes and jumped and danced around the stage like a young teenager. To cut down on expenses, he did not bring his usual back-up singers. He used 3: Suzie Furlonger, who sang with Cliff in his last album in Nashville. She has a great voice and sang two duets with Cliff. The other two male back-up singers, Tim Braser and Stuart Ward, are also great guitarists. To see them do the Shadows classic dance steps reminded me of how much I missed the Shadows, Hank and Bruce. Cliff also incorporated quite a few songs from his latest album (yet to be recorded at the time of the concert) into the show. I have also bought his latest album and listened many times to those songs. To see Cliff performing live is simply a higher level of enjoyment. The Concert: 5+/5
Song listing (with chart position, year & personal comments):
01 Reelin’ & Rockin’
02 My Kinda Life (UK 15/1977)
03 Dreamin’ (UK 8/1980 & US 10/1980)
04 Living Doll (UK 1/1959 & US 30/1959)
05 Poetry In Motion (from his new CD, 2013)
06 Sealed With A Kiss (from his new CD, 2013)
07 Dream Lover (from his new CD, 2013)*I appreciate Cliff singing a prologue to the song
08 12th of Never (duet with Suzie Furlonger)(UK 8/1964)
09 ‘D’ In Love (b-side to I Love You, 1960)*rare live concert performance; Cliff cracked a joke about the word ‘D’ while the key of the song was ‘A’ – together you have DNA….
10 Miss You Nights (UK 15/1976)*a perennial fan favourite; Cliff acknowledge the low chart position in UK, but he further emphazied in Australia, the song shot into the chart at 101 and peaked there!!! Amazing trivia! A Must-Sing title in his concert and one of my favourite.
11 Summer Holiday (UK 1/1963)
12 The Next Time (UK 1/1962)
13 What Car? (UK 12/2005)*from album Something’s Going On; Cliff’s dances with the back-up singers – quite outstanding!
14 Singing The Blues (UK 40/2009)*Cliff introduced this song in his Reunion concert with the Shadows
15 Move It (UK 2/1958)
16 Willie And The Hand Jive (b-side to Fall In Love With You, 1960)
Rockabilly section (17-19):
17 I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine
18 Fabulous (from his new CD, 2013)
20 Ocean Deep (UK 27/1984)(b-side to Baby, You’re Dynamite)*here Cliff’s voice really soared to new heights, full of passion…simply a great performance!
21 The Young Ones (UK 1/1962)
22 Devil Woman (UK 9/1976; US 6/1976)*here when Cliff clawed his hands out during the song, you will notice the ladies in the front row clawing their hands back at Cliff!
23 Some People (UK 3/1987)
24 Suddenly (UK 15/1981; US 20/1980)*duet with Suzie Furlonger; here Cliff paid his tribute to Olivia Newton-John, when she was the back-up singer to Cliff’s tour in the Far East
25 It’ll Be Me (UK 2/1962)
26 Rip It Up (from his latest CD, 2013)
27 We Don’t Talk Anymore (UK 1/1979; US 7/1979)*trivia: this is Cliff’s best selling single of all-time; I still remember I won a prize from Fred Bronson when he was writing article for Billboard, asking this question!
28 Wired For Sound (UK 4/1981; US 71/1981)*rare live performance; Cliff was in top form
29 I Could Easily Fall (UK 9/1964)
30 In The Country (UK 6/1966)
31 High Class Baby (UK 7/1958)
32 Dynamite (UK 16/1959)*b-side to Travellin’ Light; Cliff’s gyrating hip was also dynamite!
33 Please Don’t Tease (UK 1/1960)
34 Forty Days (album track, 21 Today, 1961)
35 Do You Wanna Dance (UK 2/1962)(b-side to I’m Looking Out The Window)
Here, you are up close and personal with Cliff. A little trivia that I learned from Cliff is that he was going to Singapore and Manila to perform after Australia, and he mentioned two special songs that he had to perform: Evergreen Tree and Outsider. I came from Hong Kong, and believe me, those two songs were No. 1 on the chart in the entire Far East then.
I admit that I am a loyal Cliff Richard fan and have every album that he released. His blu ray concerts (especially Region 1) are hard to come by. The entire concert is thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end, plus the bonus. This set is very highly recommended.
The latest concert “Cliff Richard’s 75th Birthday Concert at Royal Albert Hall” in 2015 is only available on DVD, no blu-ray, and only as PAL in UK. No NTSC for North America. I am still wishing and hoping that someday it will be released in North America, in blu-ray, if I am not asking too much.