Olivia’s Performance Is Pure Magic In Verona

Olivia Newton-John
Turning Stone Showroom
Verona, NY
December 2, 2011
By Joseph Suto


Friday evening the crowd inside the Showroom at the Turning Stone Casino were treated to an exquisite show by the legend Olivia Newton-John. Olivia did not disappoint, playing songs that comprised her entire career. Olivia’s career started off with success in playing country music and by 1978 when she landed the starring role in Grease everything had changed. Long before the Carrie Underwood’s of the world, she made the bold move to pop music and her career really took off.

The show began with “Pearls On A Chain” from her Grace And Gratitude album. Launching right into one of her several number one songs the delightful “Have You Never Been Mellow” showcased how wonderful Olivia still sounds. After a quick trip to “Xanadu” Olivia slowed it down a touch for “Magic”. Vocalist, saxophonist Warren Ham came out to duet on “Suddenly” singing the part of Cliff Richard.

The greatest highlight of the evening was the country medley. It was performed as guitarist Andy Timmons and Olivia sat down on stools that were placed center stage. Kicking off with the Bob Dylan cover “If Not For You” was an exceptional choice. “Let Me Be There”, her first top 10 hit clocked in next followed by the smash “Please Mister Please”. Closing out the medley were the Dolly Parton cover “Jolene” and “If You Love Me, Let Me Know”. It is great to see that Olivia appreciates her past and that she went as far back as the beginning. Though it wasn’t part of the medley per se, Olivia honored friend John Denver just before delving into “Take Me Home, Country Roads”.

Olivia also kept her diehards happy as she performed no less than three songs in concert for the first time ever including the Judy Collins song “Send In The Clowns” a song written by American composer Stephen Sondheim. She also played “Weightless” a new song from her upcoming 2012 film A Few Best Men, penned by John Farrar, who wrote and produced several of Olivia’s biggest songs.

The Grease segment closed out the proceedings to the delight of the crowd. Ham again took the microphone to emulate John Travolta’s parts during “You’re The One That I Want” and “Summer Nights”. Sandwiched in the middle was “Hopelessly Devoted To You”, which Olivia dedicated to fellow Grease cast members Jeff Conaway and Annette Charles, both whom passed away this year. For the encore Olivia reached back to the title track off her 2006 release Grace and Gratitude. No Olivia show would be complete without perhaps her biggest smash “I Honestly Love You”. She was presented with several bouquets of flowers from her fans and admirers as she took a final bow. Olivia has been doing this forever it seems and she has taken great care of herself and still looks and sounds fantastic even after all these years. Definitely a highly recommended, must see concert that one needs to experience during their lifetime.

Set List
Pearls On A Chain
Have You Never Been Mellow
A Little More Love
Country Medley (If Not For You, Let Me Be There, Please Mister Please, Jolene and If You Love Me, Let Me Know)
Take Me Home, Country Roads
Send In The Clowns
Cry Me A River
Don’t Stop Believing
Not Gonna Give In To It
Xmas On The Radio
Have Yourself A Merry Christmas
Deeper Than The Night
You’re The One That I Want
Hopelessly Devoted To You
Summer Nights
We Go Together
Grace & Gratitude
I Honestly Love You

Special Thanks to Michael Caprio from Caprio Media Design and Jerry Reed from The Turning Stone for making this review possible.

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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