Hopelessly devoted to ONJ

Currently touring Asia, singer Olivia Newton John will be in Colombo this week to perform at the Musaeus College auditorium on April 4 and 5. Here from her tour is an account of how she rocked audiences in Singapore.
By Christopher Toh

The Australian pop icon performed at the Esplanade Theatre Tuesday night to a roomful of adoring fans and, well, was just perfect in almost every sense of the word.

Her show began with the ballad, Pearls On A Chain, but Newton-John soon kicked the show into high gear with A Little More Love, followed by a trio of songs from the movie, Xanadu: Magic, Suddenly and the title track.

Despite sounding slightly raspy when she spoke, her voice was immaculate during her vocal performances. Pristine, even. When she sang her cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene - during a segment where she visited all her early country songs - she hit notes that were seemingly impossible; notes that soared up into the stratosphere. And when she performed Send In The Clowns, accompanied by just the piano, every word dripped with emotion.

But Newton-John was here to have fun, and she wanted her audience to do so, too. She started the song Physical in a mid-tempo fashion, much like what she did the last time she was here, before telling the band to stop. "Do you want to hear that like how it was originally done?" she asked to delightful screams, as the band kicked into the fast-paced version of the song. And she got the crowd to join in a jaunty sing-a-long of Country Road.

The seven-piece band expertly hit every chord and played every melody with spot-on accuracy. But it was Newton-John's show, and she knew it. Newton-John did a whole segment featuring music from the movie Grease, kicking off with You're The One That I Want. "Too bad that didn't go down well," she joked, after the crowd got to its feet at the song's end. She then went on about how Grease changed her life, and how people have always asked her what it was like to star in the show and kiss John Travolta. "Of course, I say it was a drag," she laughed, before continuing with Hopelessly Devoted To You, Summer Nights and We Go Together.

If the audience thought that was the climax of the show, they were mistaken. It came right at the end, as climaxes do, with a melt-your-heart rendition of I Honestly Love You.


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