Posts Tagged ‘John Lennon’

Forget Age. I Just Saw Petula Clark Perform at 86 Years Old!

November 26, 2018

Petula.

Performing since the age of nine, and with England giving her the beloved name of their Pet, Petula Clark has had a wide and varied career — from singing for the troops during WW2 to an international pop icon, the movies, TV, radio, stage, clubs and touring. It doesn’t seem to be ending soon, either.

I saw Petula sing the day after Thanksgiving at the One World Theatre in Austin. She didn’t need pyrotechnics or props to make her show a WOW.

She was herself, with her music and us, playing to a full house. The audience adored her, and she loved us back. She was more than enough. In fact, she and her performance were stunning in a depth beyond words.

Somewhere in the back of our thoughts was the realization that we were privileged to see her shine at 86 years old. Her voice is strong. She adapted songs to fit her current vocal range. She moved a bit stiffly at times, but she still could do a wee jig as she did in the movie Finian’s Rainbow with another icon, Fred Astaire, while singing one of its tunes.

Following a story about Peggy Lee and herself, she sensuously sang Ms. Lee’s cover song “Fever.”

While she sang some of her classics, she made it a point to intersperse her repertoire with the present, starting the show with a song on happiness and later singing one she co-wrote about living in the now. She doesn’t want to be defined by the sixties and her most famous song “Downtown.”

She shared memories of needing advice when she visited John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Montreal during their Bed-In for Peace. There was no security, and she walked in. There they were sitting in bed. John said, “Hi Petula.”

She wouldn’t repeat his words, but I later read she was troubled about protests in Canada where she was giving bi-lingual concerts.

“I explained what was going on and asked him what I was supposed to do. John replied: ‘F*** ’em.'” He said it didn’t matter, and to let them get over it.

Petula is known as a great interpreter of songs. When she followed this story by singing “Imagine,” she brought us beyond just imagining to being in this imagined world.

When she sang the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and gently, meaningfully gestured with her arms as if they were wings, we were healed and rose up with her:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Eva Peron talked to us from her heart when we listened to her sing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Evita.

Petula Clark brought with her a lifetime of experience, caring, humanity, intelligence, emotion and sensitivity that a young pop icon wouldn’t know, couldn’t access. Now she can and does blend all of this with her talent and entertainment skill and gives birth to this combined force in a way she never could have done before.

Yes, we were there to be entertained. In addition, we saw a role model who spoke through example. Go beyond tribal thinking of limitation regarding age. There may need to be adaptations, like Ms. Clark did with her vocal range. But her voice is still very strong. What she may have lacked in body movement, she gained with her spirit and emotion that came from the depth of her being.

She is a living example to never give up. She knows life changes, so change with it. Petula Clark demonstrates that age can bring benefits that youth wouldn’t know, and one’s gifts can be shared even more richly.

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I work with people, at any age,
who choose to share their gifts
or business in a BIGGER way
but don’t know how, feel stuck
or would benefit from new tools
or support.

I help them be richly compensated
doing what they love by discovering
their Soul’s goals.

 

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