2004 Australian / New Zealand
Tour Journal

26 February, 2004
Brisbane Concert Hall



Songs Performed

  • Who Am I
  • Wedding Song
  • Don't Sleep in The Subway
  • Im Not Afraid
  • Smile
  • This Is My Song
  • I Know A Place
  • Look To the Rainbow
  • You And I
  • Colour My World
  • Sailor/Marin
  • Sounds of the Sixties Medley
    Round Every Corner -Call Me -Don't Give Up -The Other Man's Grass
  • Tell Me It's Not True

  • If I Had You
  • Just You Just Me
  • Starting All Over Again
  • Sign Of The Times
  • It's a Funny Thing the Theatre (Poem)
  • Losing My Mind
  • I Never Do Anything Twice
  • With One Look
  • Memories Of Love
  • Sounds of Love Medley -You'd Better Come Home -Kiss Me Goodbye -My Love
  • Downtown

  • Here For You
  • I Couldn't Live Without Your Love

27-28 February, 2004
Twin Towns Services Club

29 February, 2004
Empire Theatre
Toowoomba, AUSTRALIA

5 March, 2004
Town Hall
Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND

6 MarcH, 2004
Bruce Mason Centre

7 March, 2004
Founder's Theatre

Perennial pop singer Petula Clark, on the eve of her Hamilton concert, talks to Mary Anne Gill about a lifetime in entertainment.

27 February 2004
Mary Anne Gill

      PETULA CLARK is chewing a lolly so it's hard to confirm whether she's just said she's never been to New Zealand before because no one ever invited her.
      It seems an absurd notion really. She is one of the world's best-selling pop artists, a singer and songwriter for more than 60 years, and promoters have never asked her to perform in New Zealand?
      Clark seems confused about how it could have happened.
      "I've been to Australia a few times," she says over the phone from her Sydney hotel room.
      "I don't know why I've never been there (to New Zealand). Even before "Lord of the Rings", I heard New Zealand was beautiful. I really can't wait to get there."
      Next week, the 71-year-old grandmother of two will arrive in New Zealand for three concerts - in Christchurch on Friday, Auckland on Saturday and Hamilton's Founders Theatre on Sunday night (March 7). At the moment she's completing a sell-out Australian tour.
      Mention Petula Clark to anyone over 40 and they're likely to break into song:
      "When you're alone and life is making you lonely you can always go - downtown. When you've got worries all the noise and the hurry seems to help I know - downtown."
      On a roll, the same person might then sing: "Don't sleep in the subway darling, don't stand in the pouring rain."
      But long before Downtown and Don't Sleep in the Subway made the pop charts worldwide in the 1960s, Clark was already a superstar with another generation.
      At an age where she could put her feet up and live off past glories, Clark is doing what she's always done - entertaining.
      These days she divides her time between homes in London, Miami and Geneva and still performs in stage shows worldwide.
      "It's a privilege," she says.
      "There's millions of people who drag themselves off to work each day and I get to do this."
      "It's a great way to live."
      So what's the secret to her long career?
      "I don't stop and think about it. "When I do, when someone like you asks me, I realise yes it's a long time but it's almost like you're talking about someone else. I don't like dwelling on the past."
      PETULA CLARK was born on November 15, 1932 in Ewell, a small village in Surrey, England. Before World II started in 1939, she sang in school concerts and in churches.
      During the war she performed in shows for the Allied forces all over Britain.
      By the end of the war, the English version of Shirley Temple was a star thanks to a "voice as sweet as chapel bells" and her movie debut in the 1944 film "Medal for the General."
      She went on to appear in more than 30 British and American movies including Francis Ford Coppola's "Finian's Rainbow" with Fred Astaire and Tommy Steele and "Goodbye Mr Chips" with Peter O'Toole and Michael Redgrave.
      But it's her recording career which has made her an entertainment legend.
      To date she's sold more than 68 million records and made more than 1000 recordings in five languages.
      Her first hits were children's songs like Put Your Shoes on Lucy, Where Did My Snowman Go and The Little Shoemaker.
      In 1957, an invitation to sing at the Olympia Theatre in France not only introduced her to a new audience but also to handsome French public relations manager Claude Wolff, whom she later married. He convinced her to record in French and she found herself reinvented as a French chanteuse. In many French-speaking countries, she is classified as a French singer.
      In Canada, she's as big as Celine Dion, an artist Clark thinks is a bit overexposed now.
      Clark has also recorded songs in German and Italian, topping charts throughout Europe.

      Her first No 1 in Britain came in 1961 with Sailor.
      Three years later, songwriter Tony Hatch visited Clark in Paris with a copy of his new song Downtown.
      It rocketed to the top of the charts in the US, earning her a Grammy award, the first British female artist to win one. She was also named top female vocalist of the year.
      Back in England, Downtown was, ironically, thwarted from reaching No 1 by US group the Supremes with Baby Love, and then by the Rolling Stones' Little Red Rooster.
      Clark got a second Grammy in 1965 with I Know a Place. She went on to have 15 top 40 hits in the US, including two at No 1 and became a household name performing on dozens of TV shows including "The Ed Sullivan Show", "American Bandstand" and "The Dean Martin Show."
      Controversy came in 1968 when, in an NBC TV special in the US, she made a stand for racial equality by touching West Indian singer Harry Belafonte during a duet and then refused to let the network cut it when sponsors were upset.
      Her British career was just as spectacular as her American one.
      Another No 1 came in 1967 when she bumped The Monkees off the top of the charts with This Is My Song, written by Charlie Chaplin.
      She had 28 songs in the UK charts between 1949 and 1988 when Downtown was re-mixed and released again, reaching No 10.
      CLARK SAYS the 1960s were a bit of a blur. Not, she hastens to add, because of any drug-taking or fast lifestyle, but because of her hectic schedule. She was a star everywhere. "I (already) had this huge career in France. I was working alongside some great people. The scene was just so amazing. The '60s were a revolution. I was just a small part of that."
      By the late 1960s, Clark and Wolff had two children. Once they started school Clark eased back on her touring. The couple went on to have a third child. Now she and Claude, who are still married but live apart, have two grandchildren, Sebastien, eight, and Annabelle, two, who live in New York.
      In the 1980s, Clark reinvented herself as a concert and musical theatre performer. She appeared in "The Sound of Music" as Maria in the West End, continued with "Candida" and then appeared in a musical she co-wrote called "Someone Like You."
      In 1994, she starred on Broadway in "Blood Brothers", playing the mother of former teenybopper stars David and Shaun Cassidy.
      She then played Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard" on the West End from 1998-2000.
      The release of her Ultimate Collection in 2002 saw her embark on a 24-city tour of the UK at the age of 69.
      Clark's favourite contemporary artist is Norah Jones. "She is really talented. I love her second CD (Feels Like Home)."
      She has little time for singers like Britney Spears, saying entertaining these days is a lot about image and not whether anyone can actually sing.
      Last year Clark was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
      "(Entertaining) it's not a grind," she says. "Sometimes being in this business is like going up a down escalator. When you get to the top you've got to just keep on going."
      And that explains why she's still touring and still singing.
      It's what she's been doing for so long that giving up would be an admission she's got nothing more to offer and that's not the case.
      Petula Clark says her shows in Australia and New Zealand last 2 1/2 hours. She thrives on the energy of it all. She'll be singing most of her hits, including Downtown.
      And you can bet when they file out of the Founders Theatre in Hamilton on Sunday it'll be the one they'll still be singing.
      "The lights are much brighter there, you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares. So go - downtown, where all the lights are bright - downtown, waiting for you tonight - downtown, you're gonna be alright now... downtown, downtown, downtown."

12 March, 2004
Melbourne Concert Hall
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA


Autograph queue

Posing with Bob

A picture with Lucy

All photos by Bob Rogers

World's a Stage for Petula

By Bryan Patterson
March 7, 2004 Sunday

      You might not know it, but John Lennon once admitted that sixties star Petula Clark was his favourite female singer.
      And did you know that "Pet", who has sold more than 70 million records world wide, sang backing vocals on Lennon's Give Peace a Chance.
      Or that she appeared on episodes of Monty Python, used to hang out with Charlie Chaplin (she played piano while he danced), was courted by Elvis and started her career during World War II as "England's Shirley Temple"?
      Such is the varied life of the perennial nice girl Petula Clark, now 72 and about to hit Australian stages to belt out her evergreens such as Downtown, I Know a Place, This Is My Song and Don't Sleep in the Subway.
      Her first recordings were on 78 rpm shellac records. She did not have her first pop hit until she was 30, but that launched her into films (Goodbye Mr Chips and Finian's Rainbow are the best known) and stage shows on Broadway and the West End. She is timeless.
      Petula Clark's hits are available in three languages -- she also sings in French and German. Her diehard fans like to collect all the versions.
      "Well, they are different," she said this week.
      "The language does make the song different. It slightly changes in attitude because there are different emphases in language, the little subtleties that are hard to explain. I know something like This Is My Song just feels different in French and German. No doubt about it.
      "And something like Don't Cry For Me Argentina is somehow stronger in French."
      One of her biggest hits was This Is My Song, written by Charlie Chaplin, once her neighbour in Switzerland.
      "He was a nice man," she said. "I used to go over to his place and he'd play me little tunes that he'd written. I don't know what became of those little songs because I never heard them outside his home."
      The first time Clark performed This Is My Song live, at Hollywood Palace, she was tentative.
      "I wasn't all that confident about it, but then when I finished there was all this cheering and shouting, I had no idea it would be such a success.
      "Charlie liked that I sang it and he liked that it became a hit." Since 2000, Clark has been touring her one-woman show around the world.
      The CD/DVD Petula Clark -- The Ultimate Collection is being released soon.
      She still loves touring. "I still get enthusiastic about being on stage," she said.
      Petula Clark plays the Melbourne Concert Hall on Friday, March 12.
The show must go on
March 12, 2004

After 63 years in the spotlight, Petula Clark shows no signs of hanging up her microphone. Michael Dwyer reports.
      She started out on 78rpm shellac. She made it big on vinyl LPs and 45s, then watched reel to reel tape and eight-track cartridges give way to cassettes.
      She's done the business on CD, DVD, and 12-inch dance remix. Some kid on your block has probably ripped her on to MP3.
      "Which one is best?" Petula Clark, CBE - one of the few performers alive who can venture an educated opinion on 50 years of sound recording formats - ruminates over the question in a very British kind of way.
     "You know, I think the song is what counts."
      She would say that. Downtown, to take the best known example of her craft, has endured 38 years beyond an iPod battery guarantee.
      It was her first American hit in the 1960s, got the Muppets treatment in the '70s, spawned a club remix in the '80s, was quoted by the Simpsons and Seinfeld in the '90s and will turn up, beyond a shadow of doubt, at her show tonight at the Melbourne Concert Hall.
      "The first time I heard the '88 remix of Downtown I was in my car," she recalls. "I thought, 'This sounds familiar. I wonder who's singing this?' and it turned out to be me! They'd wiped out the orchestra and put on some kind of ticka-ticka-tick thing.
      "I don't know what the hell it was, but it turned into a hit. They don't have to ask my permission, if you know what I mean. But it's fine. I find it rather flattering, actually. And quite amusing."
      It may be 63 years since her first wireless broadcast, and 59 since A Medal for the General made her wartime Britain's favourite child star, but Clark is no fossil.
      Although she's far too polite to force them down your throat, she has considered views on modern music, the people who make it, and why the likes of Downtown, I Know a Place and Don't Sleep in the Subway will probably outlive them all.
      "I listen to everything," she says, "so I'm not just talking out the back of my neck, here. Music has changed just as the rest of the world has changed. Songs are not written in the same way, today, and they're not written to last. It's like so many things, now: they're meant to endure for a little while, not forever.
      "I don't think the idea of melody is the same, now," she elaborates sadly. "At one point in the '60s, we were saying, 'Oh yes, but it's not Cole Porter and it's not Gershwin,' but Tony Hatch and Burt Bacharach were still writing amazing melodies. Kids don't seem to be into that now."
      Alas, no. It's all booty shakin' videos and stray breasts at the Superbowl these days. Clark, it must be remembered, became Britain's biggest-selling female artist of all time without so much as unbuttoning her bodice. How does she regard the flesh-fuelled machinations of the Kylie, Britney and Beyonce pop market?
      "Well, the whole business of rock'n'roll is sexual. I remember when Elvis first came out, they could only shoot him from the waist up 'cause he was too sexy! And now rock'n'roll is built into the music. You will almost never hear a song, even a romantic ballad, without a rock'n'roll beat, so the sensuality, the sexuality is built in.
      "I think Madonna played a big part in all that. Now the girls are like 'How few clothes can we wear and get away with it?' But you know, sexuality has got into everything. It's not just music, it's everywhere you go and I do wonder sometimes just how far it's going to go."
      What's even more remarkable than Clark's 63rd year in showbiz is how little blackmail fodder is to be found in her back pages.
      Yes, she did touch Harry Belafonte's arm on a 1968 American TV special, to howls of outrage from southern states sponsors. She's also separated from her husband of 40 years, Claude Wolff, although they haven't divorced. Kids, you know.
      Otherwise, a remarkable lack of controversy has shadowed her every move, from greeting troops at Trafalgar Square to occupying the top of the French charts, from Pinewood to Hollywood, from Las Vegas to Broadway to her most recent coup as Norma Desmond in the West End incarnation of Sunset Boulevard.
      "That makes me seem like a very dull and uninteresting person," she says. "Let's say I'm discreet. Nobody can go through life without having some kind of skeleton in the cupboard.
     "Let's face it. I've lived and I've had my ups and downs and a few adventures here and there, but you don't have to advertise them. And, in any case, that is my life. I keep it to myself and suffer sometimes because of it, but, at the same time, I can use those experiences in my work. How's that for an answer?"
      Let's say tastefully evasive. From Charlie Chaplin to Liz Taylor to Michael Jackson, tales of trauma, addiction and worse are almost a given in the wake of child celebrity.
      Did it require a great force of will, at least, for Clark to maintain her dignity and composure for so long in the spotlight?
      "A little bit," she concedes, "but, you know, I've never been really tempted. I was around in the '60s when everybody seemed to be getting stoned and all sorts of hanky-panky was going on. It has to be said that I was newly married at the time and I had a child and I was living in Paris.
      "But I was in another place in my mind, if you like. I didn't need to join in with the gang. Many times I was surrounded by it, but I've always got very high on music, on performing, on the audience. I've always been a bit hooked on that. And I still am."
      It's already six years since Clark received the ultimate accolade, a CBE bestowed by Her Majesty "for bringing so much joy over the years". She won't be wearing it on stage in Melbourne, not least because she doesn't know exactly where it is. Grandkids, you know.
      "I know this sounds a bit irreverent, but I kind of forget about it," she says. "I've only worn it once. That was to a thing at Buckingham Palace where we were told to 'wear our medals' and I thought it looked pretty awful on me. I'm very flattered to have it, or course. But it's not exactly a big deal for me."

13 March, 2004
Lyric Theatre
Star City Casino

Photos by Stuart Wilkinson

Petula and Damien Reilly
(Blue Pie Productions)

Stage fright of a legend
SUN 07 MAR 2004
By Diana Simmonds

      Petula Clark first visited Australia for the 1973 opening of the Sydney Opera House. She's returned many times since then and loves it, she says.
      When she arrives next week for her latest world-beating venture -- The Ultimate Tour -- one of her daughters and her sister who's always dreamed of coming to Australia will be with her.
      Clark has been a star for longer than seems credible. She was Britain's Shirley Temple at an age when most kids are worrying about which kindie to enrol in and has been a successful performer, worldwide, ever since.
      She's played virtually every famous venue, including as she fondly recalls, London's Royal Albert Hall.
      "I've sung there many many times,'' she says, on the phone from her Chelsea flat. "The first time was when I was about 10 and, of course, was fearless. Apparently I walked on did my bit, then walked off and went back to my comic. Last time was very different: they virtually had to push me on stage I was so terrified."
      That's the intriguing thing about a woman whose career statistics would exhaust most normal people.
      Try this tiny selection of highlights: first Grammy (1964) for Downtown, more appearances as Norma in Sunset Boulevard than any other actress, CBE (1998), chart toppers somewhere, sometime with 159 recordings; TV and movie star since the 1950s, Las Vegas star since the 1970s. And just to put it in perspective: since her first 78rpm disc (Where Did My Snowman Go) in 1952, to her latest chart-topping CD (The Ultimate Collection) she has sold an estimated 68 million records throughout the world. And she still gets nervous! "It's a very personal thing, that moment before you go on stage," she says. "It's a real gut-wrenching fear and it's unpredictable."
      She last experienced true terror when she returned to Paris's fabled Olympia (where she and Piaf are part of the fabric) for the first time in many years.
      "I was terrified. Truly terrified. I had been working on the show for months and I really didn't know if it would work. I had dreadful, dreadful stage fright. But when you're a performer there is always the audience too, you're not actually alone. An audience will lift you out of your fear and it happened that night."
      Meanwhile, she's taking a short breather in London.
      Over the phone she is warm and friendly: no uppity diva about to grace the colonies for a fat fee and a bit of sunshine. "I love it,'' she says of her work. ``It's a great privilege to be able to do what you love -- and make a living out of it, to put it bluntly. But I'd do it anyway, if I could."
      And now, she's bringing her astonishing work and life -- packaged and polished into a show that has already been acclaimed in Europe and New York -- to Australia.
      Pet Clark is a true living legend and not to be missed.
      Petula Clark -- the Ultimate Tour, Lyric, Star City Sydney March 13; Civic Theatre Newcastle March 17; Canberra Theatre March 19; Wollongong Entertainment Centre March 20.

Star chanteuse turns on glamour
March 10, 2004

      As she takes a short cut across Star City's main gambling floor, Petula Clark retrieves a memory of a very different casino from the past. It was Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in the 1960s, and Clark was a young singer sharing the night's entertainment bill with Woody Allen.
      The "very much un-Las Vegas" Allen and the young beehived British pop singer were united by their discomfort amid all the money and made men - oh, yes, she adds, laughing, "the boys", the mafia presence behind the casino business, were much more visible back then. Like Star City, a surreal timelessness prevailed. "There were no clocks anywhere you looked," she recalls, brow wrinkling in bemusement. "Except backstage, of course. The show always had to start on time."
      From performing against the clatter of poker chips, to traipsing with Fred Astaire, from child film star in the 1940s, to Broadway musical theatre force in the 1990s, the singer has slipped easily from incarnation to incarnation over six decades in show business. In the flesh, it's easy to spot all these identities - the light-as-a-cloud voice behind one of the monster hits of the 1960s, Downtown, the adored French music star, the forthright young woman who caused a racial storm in the US by placing her hand on co-singer Harry Belafonte during a 1968 NBC television special, the cultured European diva.
      If there's one consistent image, however, it is superstar chanteuse. Despite tiredness, the halo of blond hair frizzing in Sydney's humidity, and the croakiness affecting a voice once hailed as "sweet as chapel bells", she is every inch the recording star. She is modest yet aware of her standing as the voice behind the phenomenal sales - 70 million and counting - two Grammys, 15 top 40 hits on the US charts, and so on.
      A slight reserve is tempered, however, with warmth. She apologises as she excuses herself for some emergency cosmetic repair before facing the Herald photographer, re-emerging looking suitably photogenic in cat's-eye glasses and crimson lipstick. At 70, Clark can still turn on the showbiz glamour with a tilt of the chin. This Saturday, she will perform a sole Sydney concert at the Lyric Theatre. She will sing Downtown, of course, the Tony Hatch-written hit that won her her first Grammy in 1964, along with all those other wonderfully digestible songs that made her one of the decade's bona fide recording stars. But it won't just be all memory-lane stuff - too boring, she says, smiling. "I'm not much into looking back. In my show, I do a bit of that, because it's part of my life - the '60s were great - but I've done a lot of things since. I've always got something different going on, from the way I sing something, to doing a different kind of program."
      In the case of the Sydney show, it could include singing the song she wrote to commemorate the September 11 attacks, Starting All Over Again. "I didn't know what to do about the grief," she says slowly. "A few weeks after it happened, I wrote a letter to Rudy Giuliani expressing my feelings, and then I started writing a poem about it that ended up as a song." She pauses. "The whole thing affected me a lot. New York has always been a great city for me."
      It has certainly returned the affection, much more so since Clark's last September 11-related experience, when the giant US radio network Clear Communications included one of her songs, A Sign of The Times, in a lengthy list of "lyrically questionable" songs sent to the country's radio stations after the attacks.
      In October, Downtown was selected by New York City officials to spearhead a $US40 million tourism campaign to sell the city. Remixed by the Australian DJ The OUTpsiDER, Clark's sunny '60s hit has since played there in a series of television advertisements.
      Big Apple poster-girl role aside, Clark is enjoying a renewed popularity. Her The Ultimate Collection CD snared a top-10 spot on Britain's charts in 2002, and her career was honoured by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters last year.
      Other recent highlights include seeing Downtown inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and an acclaimed performance at the Olympia Theatre in Paris in a return, for the first time in 30 years, to the venue that launched her European career - "the audience were pounding, pounding the floor, calling my name", she recalls, eyes shining. She laughs when asked about this sudden interest. "I certainly haven't gone out to do anything in particular - I've just been working." She sings. That's about it. And she enjoys doing it, although she still has to corral those jangling nerves with some stern words before performing.
      "I tell myself, 'C'mon, what are you doing? You're just going out there and singing a bunch of songs'," she laughs. "I'm a Scorpio - I'm always waiting for bad things to happen, watching out for the bogyman crouching in the corner. My way of dealing with it is by fighting back, knowing exactly what I'm doing on stage."

17 March, 2004
Civic Theatre
Newcastle, AUSTRALIA

19 March, 2004
Canberra Theatre

20 March, 2004
Entertainment Centre
Wollongong, AUSTRALIA

All photos courtesy of Renae Kiddle

Petula and Renae