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Author Topic: Olivia Newton-John in Pittsburgh 12/8/12  (Read 1117 times)
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« on: December 13, 2012, 06:16:48 AM »

Olivia Newton-John with the PSO         Heinz Hall
December 8, 2012                  3rd row dead center

   I found out about this concert via Facebook posts. I immediately got on to buy a ticket. How often does she come to town? When (if) will she return? She has always been a great entertainer and I figured this was going to be an awesome show. I could have bought a front row left or right seat, but the front row center section seats were already bought up. I wanted to be in the center though, as some performers don’t seem to move much to the sides of the stage to give people over there a look. Some seem almost chained to the middle. But I figured 3rd row dead center would put me in an excellent seat to see everything, and put me right in front of her for most of the show. I was hoping to mouth the words “I honestly love you” and get some eye contact with her on that song. That would have been cool. Didn’t work out that way, but that’s ok because it was a heck of a great show!
   I left early and didn’t run into any issues on the way. The city did have some traffic though. The Pitt basketball team played at the Petersen Events Center so the Oakland area of town had a bit of activity. I got off the bus down by the Wood Street subway station then walked a block north past the Benedum before turning west to walk the block to Heinz. The Benedum was booming because the Nutcracker was on that night. 
   I arrived and spotted Celtic Woman fan Ann Marie waiting in the lobby so we chatted a bit and then Celtic Woman fan  MrPeabody also showed up for this show instead of attending Celtic Woman in Naperville. He cheated on Mairead with Olivia! Call Jerry Springer theres a show for him! But with 3 CW groupies in attendance, almost a mini Celtic Woman show going on here tonight! They bought front row left seats. We all entered the lobby and headed to the merchandise table. What a BIG mess! They only had 2 people working it, and there were dozens of people in line. Lucky for us we sort of team worked our way to the front. Ann Marie got hers first then wheel chaired on out, then I got mine and hobbled out, trying to be careful no one stepped on my bad though mostly healed foot! I had planned to buy a program and a fridge magnet, but to get the magnet you had to buy $40 worth the stuff, then you got it and a keychain for “free“ I ended up buying an autographed pic for $30. Usually I don‘t buy autographed pics, I try to get them myself. But this was an exception. I figured if they are selling them, no way she does a signing for free!  The program did not have a set list in it. Lots of pretty pics though. But anyway as I left the line. MrPeabody was then being waited on.
   I walked over by the big and very nice Christmas Tree that the Symphony puts up every year for the holidays and spotted 2 of my neighbors who aren’t used to seeing me so dressed up. So that was fun. They almost didn’t recognize me. Talked to them a bit, headed for the restroom for the obligatory pre-show use there, then in my seat by 7:45 for an 8pm start. The lady sitting to my right struck up a conversation. Her husband was a retired Navy vet and was attending the Army-Navy game that day, so she was at the concert alone. She wanted a program, one of the free ones, so I flagged an usher who carried them and got one for her. .
    The stage didn’t have any Christmas décor like we saw a few night before for the Celtic Woman Christmas show. Lights had “Olivia” projected on the back wall. Some type of electronic stuff was far left and far right. The far left turned out to be the keyboard equipment. The far right was for lights or a soundboard? I don’t know but she didn’t intro the guy working there as a musician. If she did I missed it. I did notice a sax standing up on  a type of stand about mid stage. A drum set was on the right side of the stage, just left of the electronic equipment on the far right. At about 7:50 they wheeled out a Golden Harp from the one door and set it up toward the back of the stage.
   So her band came out and she had the keyboard guy far left, then a guitar guy, then the , what to call him, jack of all trades. He played sax, some type of box like thing, flute, guitar, and also sang (a few times in a really DEEP voice, like Bowser of Sha Na Na)! That guy earns his money! Then Olivia would be center stage. She had two back up singers, first the guy then the lady, then the bass guitar player, then the drummer. So they extended across the stage like that, left to right as the crowd looked at them.
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2012, 06:18:21 AM »


   She started with “Have you ever been mellow” and followed with “little more love make it right”  I wasn’t sure of the name of the 3rd song. Songs 4, 5, and 6 were Xanadu, Magic, and Suddenly. Her male back up singer did the male parts of that duet. She mentioned some stuff about Xanadu, and praised co-star Gene Kelly. But I didn’t hear her mention that Kelly is a Pittsburgh native. Maybe I missed it if she did.  But that would have been a good way to pander to the Pittsburgh crowd. Kelly also attended the University of Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh’s Peabody High School.
   Not sure of the title of the 7th song, maybe “Enough for you”? Song 8 “Let me be there”  Song 9 was “Please Mr Please”. Sadly I can’t remember all the song names. I remember hearing these long ago. I seem to remember only the most memorable
   . She was now in the country music section of her show. She joked around and got a good laugh. Something like “Do you know any country songs?” paused then said “Neither do we”. Or something like that. But she talked how she was Australian and how she thought it a bit ironic she had some successful country songs here in the USA. Also note, on another song later, I can’t remember which one,  she joked “If you want to sing along … DON”T! It will mess us up!” She interjected some humor in the show. She seemed to interact well with the crowd. She didn’t overdo it though Made some good eye contact with the crowd throughout the show. .
   Then it was  “Take me home country roads“, Jolene, and “If you love me let me know.” . Country Roads seems to be a popular cover song for any “Country” bit of a show, and Jolene is a surprisingly cool song from the musical point of view, in my opinion, but maybe not as good from a lyrics stand point. But every now and then a lady will cover that to be ‘country”.
   Then song 13, and its time to get PHYSICAL! The back up singers came to the very front of the stage and did jumping jacks and other various exercise type moves. Olivia ran around a bit. During her little speech for the song, she joked how it was controversial back then, but its nothing compared what one sees today on MTV and at concerts now. She said it was ‘banned’ and said ‘its an awful segway but now I will introduce my ‘band’. And did so. Also during this song someone in the crowd ran up to the stage and handed her a pink towel. That was possibly the pink version of the Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel that’s used to support those with breast cancer. Olivia is a survivor and would later mention that its been 20 years! She talked about that in the next group of songs.
   I didn’t know the names of these songs. One was perhaps entitled “on time? But there were several I didn’t know. Also, on the topic of giving her things from the crowd, after song 17 someone gave her a rose. She ran around the stage with it in her teeth, then at the end threw it into the crowd. It was in my general area, just right and back. I thought about reaching for it, but I would have smacked the lady next to me in the head! So I stayed still.
   Then it was time for the “Grease” segment of the show. It started with a very brief intro of “Goodbye to Sandra Dee”. Also included “summer nights“, “hopelessly devoted to you“, and “you’re the one that I want.”. The guy singer and the jack of all trades wore leather jackets, the lady singer wore a ’pink ladies’ jacket. She sort of paired up with Olivia and they ran around a bit on the one song. It was good how they did the Grease segment. All very fun and entertaining.
   So it’s the end of the show and the crowd responded with a lot of applause. I was glad to hear it. Although it appeared to be a near sell out, or maybe even a total sell out, the crowd at times was a bit, sleepy? Even when the people on stage prompted clapping, at times it didn’t happen. Or if it did, it fizzled out fast. But we did have a little clapping going on at times.   And I don’t think that they can complain about a lack of ovation at the end. It seemed respectful.
   I was starting to sweat a bit. She didn’t do one song that I really wanted to hear, “I love you, I honestly love you” OH-NO! So Olivia and her band come back out to do the encore songs. First it was a “Thank you” song. Then, YES she did the song I was waiting for. VERY last, but not least. Very touching rendition. She sort of improvised at times, slowing down a bit. . I did not get eye contact with her on it though. But still a great song and performance. It may have been part a capella. There did seem to be some very soft instrumentation though in the background.
   And speaking of background instrumentation, the Pittsburgh Symphony didn’t seem to have much to do during this show. Olivia had her own band and they did most of the work. I did notice the Symphony just sitting there a lot, but at times they did seem to do some soft background type stuff. The conductor just looked like a conductor. Had long white hair in back, but bald on top and in front. Had a belly that stuck forward a bit and he was short. I don’t know. But if you saw this guy walk down the street, you would think ‘musician’ or ‘conductor’ he just had that look about him.
   So the show ended at about 9:40 from an 8pm start. I went over to my fellow CW groupies and said goodbye then headed home. As I passed by the merchandise table, it was a real ZOO! They seriously needed more people working it.
   In conclusion, Olivia looked great, sounded great, ran around the stage, joked, talked, she did it all. She most definitely still has “IT”! Everyone seemed to have a great time. This show is definitely worth seeing if you get the chance.
   
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2012, 10:40:21 AM »

Ahhhh, many a guy my age had a huge crush on her way back then. Wonderful she is touring and that she still has "IT". Few artists do, although I would place our fiddler in that category, and how many chances do you get to be part of it. Glad you went, and third row center is better than front row off to the side. Thanks for the nice review and run down of the song set.
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2012, 06:56:08 PM »

If Olivia is finished in PA, please send her over here. Smiley
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