Voice still has the golden touch
Musical Director Karl Benton Globe Theatre
Reviewed by Richard Mays
John Rowles is dryly funny. Perhaps that shouldn’t be unexpected. After all, he’s been around since his breakthrough year in 1968. It’s inconceivable he hasn’t learned a thing or two about how to handle an audience.
That’s even if it took him a while to say anything. The opening of his show was heavily musically scripted. From the Cheryl Moana Marie instrumental intro mashed with the sampled chorus to Also Sprach Zarathustra, to a quick flirt with Tania, the songs weren’t punctuated by much.
There were a couple of ‘‘thank-you-verymuch-ladies-and-gentlemen’’ until he finally broke the ice. A woman in the front row offered him a long stemmed rose. He returned the favour with his ‘‘$2 Shop lei’’ and a free copy of his latest CD, and then the quips started.
There were jokes about Frankie Stevens, John Key, his silver fox hair-do and Winston Peters, Tim Shadbolt and Rodney Hide from his short time on Dancing With the Stars, and old age. He even revealed his nipple – yep, he did; talked about his time at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and meeting members of the Rat Pack in Vegas – a story that culminated in a series of singing impressions while singing My Way. There was also a send-up rap song. In between he mixed old faves with new tunes, exploring the narrative of the bigvoiced ballad and steering into country & western flavours.
He may look a little craggier, the vocal edges may be a bit raggier, but boy the voice still has power and depth, and he knows how to own a song – even the ones that weren’t his.
Along with his hits, there were shades of Sinatra, the Walker Brothers and Neil Diamond It was a performance from someone pretty much at home with himself.
And ended with a standing ovation.
John Rowles breezed into town for his first concert at the Globe, and to say goodbye to retiring theatre manager, Bruce Warwick.