Cliff Richard and the Shadows, O2 Arena, London - Reviews - Music - The Independent

Cliff Richard and the Shadows, O2 Arena, London

4.00

People forget we were a rock'n'roll band and we still are," Cliff maintains. Tonight, it appears it's only rock'n'roll, and, well, Sir Cliff likes it.

Harry Roger Webb has been mocked in some quarters (many quarters) for a considerable time and for many reasons – his Christianity, his fashion choices, his sexual ambivalence, his hanging around Wimbledon like a bad drop volley, his absurd video to "Devil Woman" – but the O2 Arena has nothing but respect for the Peter Pan of Pop, and Hank Marvin's immaculate, crisp- sounding Shadows lend the trim 68-year-old showman a respectability he hasn't achieved for aeons.

The generous 41-song set is devoted to early Cliff and the Shadows. They tear through "We Say Yeah", "A Girl Like You", "I'm the Lonely One" and the unfortunately titled "Willie and the Hand Jive". We're not treated, thank the sweet lord, to the creepy turgidity of "Mistletoe and Wine" and the "Millennium Prayer" – the sort of ditties they'd lull you with in "The Wicker Man" before constructing a pagan structure and burning your petrified flesh – or the soft Seventies rock of "Devil Woman", "Wired for Sound" or "We Don't Talk Anymore", all perfectly serviceable pop camembert. In fact, it's an irony-free night of rock'n'roll tunes that harks back to Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly. Cliff, of course, started his career being compared to Elvis Presley, he was sold as "dangerous", he looked like a singing Dirk Bogarde and sang snarling rock songs like "Mean Streak". However, Cliff's fifth single, the slightly disturbing "Living Doll" ("I'm gonna lock her up in a trunk/ So no big hunk can steal her away from me") heralded a "softer" side to Cliff, a side he's clung on to and exploited for nearly 50 years.

This tour, the final one for Cliff and his Shadows, appears to be a worthy attempt to reclaim the rockabilly in Richard. The audience are restrained, enthusiastic but save for a group who don sailor hats for "Sea Cruise" not evangelical or obsessed. Oh my lord, I've been converted. Even the terrifically annoying "Summer Holiday" is bearable as is the horribly prescient "Bachelor Boy".

Cliff's committed too many crimes to music to completely convert you, but this simple rock'n'roll show is blessed by the presence of the Shadows (Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett) and the absence of all the usual nonsense associated with Richard. He's forgiven.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow
doctor who
Arts and Entertainment
Queen Christina left the judges baffled with her audition
X Factor
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week