Downtown! This word has been ringing in my head for the last week. A bit late, I discovered the free (!) concert series Berlin Live by TV channel Arte. On a regular basis, concerts are recorded in SchwuZ, my favorite Berlin gay club, and later broadcast on television. On Thursday, the cameras were pointed at most probably the oldest artist this series will see: Ms Petula Clark.
Ms Petula Who? Now I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with that name but I had to Google her first to find out that she’s the British singer most famous for the song Downtown. But since I have a fascination with ‘artists of a certain age’ (look up Cohen, Leonard and Turner, Tina in your encyclopedia) I figured I would give this 83-year-old new discovery, Petula, a shot. And it was for free, right!?
I wasn’t disappointed. There’s something about an ‘older’ performer taking the stage that always gets me. Professionalism, a certain ‘I-don’t-give-a-fuck-anymore’ attitude, je ne sais quoi. The same with Petula Clark. She was there for the music. She was there to have fun. She didn’t have to pull any crazy stunts to get the attention of the video cameras. She was focused on the songs and on giving a good performance.
Her voice was still in fine shape. As I said, I only knew the song Downtown and I guess I wasn’t the only one in the audience. No worries – Petula added enough cover songs to her set to keep it interesting. John Lennon’s Imagine. The Beatles’ Blackbird (“A song written by Stella McCartney’s dad.What’s his name again? Ah yes, Paul!”). And even Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy (which might sound like a bit of a crazy choice but it worked very well with Petula Clark’s swing approach).
And after exactly one hour it was over. Ms Clark left her mainly gay and elderly audience, myself included, more than satisfied. Missed it? Catch the show on Arte in a couple of weeks!