Only Olivia Fan Club

Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL

Sept  8, 2001

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Review from St. Petersburg Times,

As always, Olivia proves simple, sweet

Newton-John performs highlights of her 30-year career for a sold-out crowd at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

By GINA VIVINETTO
Sept 10, 2001

CLEARWATER -- In a summer of mega spectacular concert tours, there was something charmingly simple about Olivia Newton-John's Saturday performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall. No headsets, no busy choreography, no costume changes. Just Newton-John, in her first ever Florida performance, and a sold-out house of 2,163 hopelessly devoted fans.

Devoted they were. For two hours Newton-John treated them to a retrospective of her 30-year music and film career, which she peppered with much folksy charm. Early on, devotees began delivering the star bouquets of flowers. By the end of the evening, Newton-John had filled a small table that originally held just a thermos of tea.

Backed by a top notch six-member band and two singers, Newton-John kicked things off with the soulful Trust Yourself, waving to the audience and beaming, in typical good nature. Isn't the Aussie songbird as famous for her chipperness as she is her sweet voice? She reminded fans that she got her start in country music -- though Nashville may have furrowed its brow back then at the girl with the Down Under accent -- with a medley of tunes including Dolly Parton's pleading Jolene.

Next came a powerhouse collection of hits including Xanadu -- yes, she hit all those notes, Magic, Suddenly, the deliciously sexy A Little More Love, which goes from swagger to sweet better than any pop gem, and finally, Physical, which Newton-John introduced with funny quips about exercise, and several tongue-in-cheek jumping jacks.

She dedicated Over The Rainbow to her 15-year-old daughter, Chloe. The elegantly simple rendition -- Newton-John was backed by just piano and flute -- won raves from the Judy Garland enthusiasts in the crowd. (The two evidently share a similar fan base.)

The biggest cheers came during a selection of songs from Grease, which found Newton-John dueting with a backing singer on the sizzling You're The One That I Want, a perfectly sappy Hopelessly Devoted to You and the festive, frolicsome Summer Nights. Newton-John left the stage briefly, to return with Don't Cry For Me Argentina. Her encore? It could have been sung to the star from her adoring crowd, which gave her five standing ovations: I Honestly Love You.

Thanks to Teresa Valdes

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