The Boston Herald
July 15, 1986
Petula’s invasion gets warm reception
Britain’s Petula Clark launched a new invasion of the U.S. from the South Shore Music Circus last night, and one of the top pop singers of the ‘60s was a definite 1980s hit.
Best remembered here for her catchy "Downtown"—a smash in 1964—Pet proved last night that seven years away from these shores have not diminished her talent.
Though faced with a half-filled house, she belted out the loud ones and caressed the ballads with confidence, skill and enthusiastic warmth for her audience—warmth which was heartily returned.
The singer has never lost her popularity abroad. A child star in England during the 1940s, she now lives in Europe and continues a successful recording career. She demurred last night about why she’s stayed away from the U.S. so long, but a fan’s urgent plea for her to come back sooner next time fell on apparently receptive ears.
Clark’s material ranged from her own hits like "Don’t Sleep in the Subway" and "I Know a Place" to Broadway show tunes and songs from her movie roles. On most of them, her clear voice and precise phrasing made for smooth, seemingly effortless deliveries.
Not every choice worked. A medley of Elton John tunes fell flat—in part because most of the audience was of the earlier "Downtown" generation. A Stevie Wonder medley later on proved far more successful, affording Pet a chance to make the songs her own while retaining the heart and soul of the originals.
An actress as well as a singer, Clark said she hopes to soon star in an original musical. Judging from the way she handled show tunes last night, she won’t have any trouble.
By the time she got around to "Downtown," Clark’s listeners had long since been won over.
Whether singing an Edith Piaf song in French or Phil Collins’ "One More Night," Clark has unmistakable style and finesse. But most of all, last night showed that Petula Clark is a warm, giving performer who’s a professional in every sense of the word. Let’s hope she doesn’t wait another seven years to return.