Voice still has the golden touch

The Tribune (NZ) - - REVIEWS -

John Rowles

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.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/FAIRFAX NZ

John Rowles breezed into town for his first con­cert at the Globe, and to say good­bye to re­tir­ing theatre man­ager, Bruce War­wick.

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