Photo courtesy of Frank Owens

November 19,1969

REVIEW: Petula at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York
"This should be known as The British Empah Room," remarked Petula Clark during her opening at the Waldorf-Astoria. She's right, you know. She's the third Briton to play the inn's Empire Room during the early part of the season - the others were Shirley Bassey and Anthony Newley.

The current British invasion is by far the most swinging since 1812. The hotels, cafes, one-nighters and other media have taken on a British accent of late, and virtually all are huge box-office. In Miss Clark's case, she'll continue this trend, especially now that her picture Goodbye, Mr. Chips has started its run. In the past it was her records that gave her a passport to major box-office. Now she has two media working for her.

Miss Clark is somewhat of a bridge between the generation gaps. She digs the mind and songs of youth, and she also knows what the elders are thinking about, so she can speak to both factions in their own terms. She hits [a] new crop of cafe-goers with products from Tony Hatch and other writers favored by her, and she reminds the elders of the songs which they have revered throughout the years in some biting satire. Her medley of oldies harking back to the old-fashioned waltz sung in glissando to the variety of Latin beats had a lot of digs and made some of the old-line customers realize that their tune tastes were not top-notch either. Even though this medley should have been edited down, it served the valuable purpose of squaring off the new songs, particularly in Miss Clark's style, with the generation that normally picks up the check.

Miss Clark sings with taste, charm and with a universal appeal. Much of her work is light and some quite dramatic, but she totes up strong points, especially during the latter part of her turn. Her vocal ideals are as precise as her singing. She combines a feel for both melody and lyric; neglecting neither is the exposition of a tune's totality. She took several tunes to enter this state of grace, but having arrived at it comparatively early in her act, she did no wrong with this audience. Even the memory of Mrs. Miller didn't spoil "Downtown" for her.

November 29, 1969

Photo courtesy of Frank Owens

REVIEW: Petula at the Waldorf-Astoria
by Ian Dove

Petula Clark, once a mild-mannered British lady singer but now a professional entertainer at home in sophisticated settings in several countries and several languages, opened at the Empire Room, Nov. 17 -"British Empire Room," she termed it, alluding to the fact that previous performers have been Shirley Bassey and Anthony Newley, part of the under-publicized British nightclub invasion as opposed to the beat revolution.

The Reprise singer presented an act that contained all her best material from the last six or seven years, all refined down to smooth professionalism. She went from "Downtown" to her current song from Goodbye, Mr. Chips, a wistful Leslie Bricusse piece.

Three Beatles tunes (two ballads), one Charlie Chaplin, some Tony Hatch -- these are the kinds of writers Petula Clark chooses. She doesn't rely on the over-familiar ("For Once in My Life") type of nightclub standards and her act is improved because of this. On opening night she fought successfully a bout of laryngitis.