I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t, even if he had. ‘Buggered off’, that is, if Tony Christie had sung Amarillo at the beginning. He was worried we would, but some people actually like all his singing and not just (Is This the Way to) Amarillo?
Tony made sure we knew he was not a tribute, but the real thing. We could tell. (Although 40 years ago I loved him dearly, but had no idea what he looked like, due to the vagaries of Swedish magazines.) He was on painkillers (or so he said). Well, that made two of us, sweetie. And I was still among the younger ones in the audience, which is something I say with less frequency as the years wear on. And Daughter cringed and hoped she wouldn’t see anyone she knew. As if!
The Fitzgerald chap (Yeah, I’m shocked too. I thought the cool Christie was his real name…) always dreamed of singing with a big band, and last night he had nine people on stage with him. Hope it was big enough. Tony’s Now’s The Time 50th anniversary tour started off with Avenues and Alleyways, before someone shouted from the right(quite a noisy audience). By then I’d seen off the St John Ambulance men next to me, although admittedly they would have been useful for immediate resuscitation.
He has a new album out. He mentioned it quite a lot. New songs were sandwiched in between old hits and pretty good they sounded too. I don’t always like new stuff the first time, but Tony’s album sounds promising. It seems Daughter needs to buy it.
Tony danced nimbly, which isn’t bad for a 50th tour. Who’d have thought that time forty years ago when I sat with my ear pressed to the radio listening to Oppopoppa, with Tony singing live under a bare sky, that I would be here at the Plaza listening to him still? Admittedly, there was a large chunk of time in between when I too thought he might be dead. It seems he was only touring on the continent, where they appreciate singers a bit more.
After Las Vegas and the new Nobody in the World, my photographer worked out she’d chosen the wrong camera. But I thought, what’s one more (or less) old man in a grey suit? I don’t mean that, but it reassured me.
‘That voice’ sounded as marvellous as ever in Don’t Go Down to Reno. New song The Key of You followed, and I could tell that the Resident IT Consultant who had been dragged there kicking and screaming, and who prefers Bach, wasn’t totally unhappy. Tony sang stuff from his Made in Sheffield album as well. We had Danger is a Woman in Love and a Sammy Davis Jr number, for which Tony shrank in stature and moved (almost) like Sammy.
Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast and Shop Around (from his recent West End musical experience) finished the first half. Tony has not yet had a super injunction, so if someone could oblige?
After a very long twenty minute interval (could be an age thing?) we were back to Now’s the Time and I Did What I Did For Maria (I must admit here to having liked Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep, back in the days…), followed by Like Sister and Brother, Working Overtime and then a future charity track for – I think – Afghan Heroes.
Tony may not want to write his memoirs, but he shared some of his life with us. We heard about the years in Spain when he was partly believed to be dead, about when Jarvis Cocker called, and then the Comic Relief effect of Peter Kay and Amarillo. Tony topped all sorts of things all at once, including ringtone downloads. It’s the price for wearing Peter Kay’s suit, I say.
Now he’s working his socks off to forget the 15 years of being ‘dead’ and in Walk Like a Panther he certainly panthered along very convincingly. There was a duet with Michelle, Seven Hills, and some more reminiscing about being 17 and not wanting to join the Glee club to sing for old people. Glad he got over that particular dislike.
In Jezebel Tony yet again demonstrated looking almost blown over. He sang leaning backwards, seemingly a small step from falling over. Human Leagues’ Louise and I Thank You were last before he had to do ‘that song’, Amarillo. For which the audience actually stood up and danced a little in the aisles, almost German style.
You’d think there is nothing which can follow Amarillo, but there is. Solitaire can. And it did.
Then we went home, after depositing money in the buckets on the way out. That was for the Plaza and its future, not Tony. He seems to be doing well enough, for a completely ignored singer.
If only I could have visualised this back then, when all I could manage was sitting close to the radio, wondering what he looked like, that man with the nice voice and the fantastic songs.