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Olivia Newton-John, BIC, Bournemouth
12:07pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Music Reviews
As an Arctic wind cut through Bournemouth, whipping up the snow on the beach, Australian songbird Olivia Newton-John brought sunshine to the BIC.
On her first UK tour since 1978, celebrating 40 years in showbiz, this vivacious vocalist delivered an entertaining two-hour show without an interval.
In black leather trousers and high heels, and looking half her 64 years, Newton-John’s voice is still smooth and strong, hitting those high notes with effortless ease.
Backed by a talented five-piece band and two singers, she nails her early country-pop hits – If Not For You, Banks Of The Ohio, and Xanadu before exploring the challenging Cry Me A River with a smoky jazz vocal.
The material is varied, from her slightly naff Eurovision entry Long Live Love through the effective country covers Jolene and Country Roads to her “naughty” ten-weeks-at-number-one hit Physical.
Outstandingly perceptive are her self-penned songs – the passionate Don’t Cut Me Down plea for trees in the Amazon Rain Forest, and the moving Never Give In To It snub to breast cancer, from which she recovered 20 years ago.
The feel-good finale reprised her unforgettable performance with John Travolta in the movie Grease, including You’re The One That I Want, Hopelessly Devoted To You, and Summer Lovin’, producing a standing ovation.
Olivia Newton-John has the all-time perfect encore – Grace And Gratitude features the line “Thank you for everything”, and the final song is the heartfelt I Honestly Love You.