by Tini K
|Belting out his most popular chart toppers.
Sir Cliff Richard lived up to his "Peter Pan of Pop" title recently, when he brought his UK and European sellout "Here and Now" tour to the Genting Highlands, Malaysia and Singapore in February.
The 66-year-old pop star defied his age, again and again, in a three-hour show, belting out his most popular hits from each decade: from the 1950's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's, to his most recent releases. His latest songs featured heavily in the concerts, and were perhaps, unfamiliar to the majority of his fans (mostly middle-aged), but enthusiastically received by the younger audience members, of which there were a smattering, in the 6,000 seat capacity Arena of Stars, in Genting.
As anticipation filled the air and the lights went down, one of the stage crew introduced Cliff, who had last performed in Genting and Singapore four years ago back in 2003. The sound of an electric guitar chord shattered the atmosphere, the lights came up and Cliff Richard came bursting out onto the stage, complete with guitar in hand, where he proceeded to jump, dance, twist and shout to the extent that even a performer half his age would have a challenge to keep up.
Fast and furious, "My Kinda Life" kicked off the show and familiar dance tunes such as "Wired For Sound", "Devil Woman", and "We Don't Talk Anymore" peppered the performance throughout the night. There was something for everyone, and popular radio requests like "Ocean Deep" and Miss You Nights" (most recently rehashed by teen heart throb group Westlife), were not left out.
But, mostly the older audience were at their most audible when Cliff serenaded them with his well-known hits from the 1960's. It was "Summer Holiday", "Bachelor Boy", "Constantly" and "Evergreen Tree" that had the fans raving, clapping and singing along the most.
Cliff's latest album "Two's Company", featuring duets of classics like "Yesterday Once More" and "Let There Be Love" was introduced to the audience, on stage for the first time, as he paired up with his back-up singers.
The show was a mix of fast and slow numbers, dance, songs and ballads, both contemporary and classic. And Cliff entertained both the old and young. Devoted fans (mostly female) and their husbands, who had been dragged along to see Cliff, were not disappointed.
Cliff's sense of humour and rapport with the audience won them over, as he cracked jokes and talked about his work and recording experiences.
"I'm glad you all came tonight. Most people think I'm already dead," was his opening line, drawing laughter and applause.
Once in a while, he would be interrupted by ladies bearing bouquets of flowers, which he bore with good grace and humour before excusing himself, joking that he must get on and finish the concert that night.
Kickstarting the second half of the show, Cliff spoke of how journalists portrayed him as "uncool" in the media, which he didn't mind, he said, because he was still "hot"- before launching into a head splitting and voracious dance track, after having a quick costume change into his jeans and leather jacket.
The three hours of pure pop entertainment ended on a high note with his 1993 hit single "Peace In Our Time", after which Cliff signed off, leaving his fans chanting for more.
After nearly 50 years in the music business, (2008 will mark his Golden Jubilee), Cliff Richard showed no signs of slowing down, performing three successive nights in a row, twice in Genting and the next night in Singapore.
Fans from as far as the UK, Australia and Hong Kong attended the concerts in Malaysia and Singapore.
The ageing process hardly seems to have affected his looks or his fitness. And seeing him running around and performing on stage, Cliff could easily pass for a man half his age.
His music changes with the times. He is the only UK artiste to have had number one hits in each of the five decades spanning through the 1950's to 1990's.
His latest single "21st Century Christmas" still made it to the number two spot in the UK charts just a few months ago, in December 2006.
In a Malaysian press interview, Cliff vowed to keep coming back and doing concerts for as long as he can.
So Cliff fans out there who missed him this time around, keep a look out, as the man just might be back to a concert hall near you in the next three to four years time.