thanks to Shannon Gacht

Channel News Asia


SINGAPORE : Has Olivia Newton-John found a new love in Singapore?

The singer, still gorgeous at 58, held a capacity crowd in thrall for two hours on Friday night as her Body, Heart and Spirit Tour came to the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

And surprise, surprise, she dedicated her hit song Sam to “a young man in Singapore who is taking care of me”.

The one-night-only show started off predictably enough with evergreen hits such as Have You Never Been Mellow? and a country medley featuring Please Mr Please, but the audience of mostly baby boomers lapped it up.

Even Newton-John’s one-and-only raunchy number Physical barely raised temperatures. The star did the number in what looked like a lacy housecoat and, in a nod to her age, while seated. “I am doing my age-appropriate version,” she said by way of an apology.

As she stood to take a bow, poor Newton-John almost fell backwards when her tall stool was moved away.

But she recovered her poise and launched into Sam, arguably her most romantic hit - a song full of longing and with words to touch the most jaded of unrequited hearts.

It made one wonder who that lucky young man in Singapore is, who was told in no uncertain terms: “Come on inside, I am longing to see you. You know where I am”.

Was it a response to her loyal fans or was there a message in her words: I should have come to Singapore a lot earlier.

Newton-John was once married to much younger actor Matt Lattanzi (she at 36, he at 25) and they have a daughter, Chloe, now 21.

They divorced and Newton-John lived with Patrick McDermott for nine years before he disappeared mysteriously from a California fishing boat in 2005.

Heartache has dogged Newton-John the past two decades - her father died of cancer the same day that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

But she has soldiered on, and as a tribute to women who have taken the same difficult path, she penned a new album: Grace and Gratitude.

The songs are still wonderfully Newton-John, one is titled Love is Letting Go of Fear, and a departure from the saccharine sweetness that she doled out in her younger years.

But her fans remain hopelessly devoted to her, giving her a standing ovation at the end of the show the likes of which has not been seen at the stadium for some time. Physical.

Ed - a fan’s account of the stool incident is slightly different -“after the ‘seated numbers’, Olivia got up, spoke (at this point, the tall stool was removed) and reached back with her hand to gesture to the stool only to find it missing, and it was quite funny how she made a joke out of that situation. In short, she didn’t almost fall backwards.”