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Olivia Newton-John De-Constructed: April 23, 2016

Olivia Newton-John De-Constructed: April 23, 2016

Music

Olivia Newton-John is one of those celebrities who without expending any effort whatsoever, can induce an entire generation of people to revert to their adolescent selves. On April 23, 2016, she did just that when she took the stage at Montclair, New Jersey’s Wellmont Theater. With a tight band and no frills approach—zero lights or stage production, just hits and multiple glittering shawls over a smart black ensemble—the still-comely Ms. John did not skimp on her pop nuggets as she led the crowd in what amounted to a group singalong. The highlight of the show for most was a Grease medley that recruited Didi Conn from the audience to create some new Pink Ladies memories for young and old.

Olivia Newton-John today
Olivia Newton John at the Wellmont Theater. Photo credit: @Sextonseven on IG

For me, the highlight was bringing my young niece and nephew to the family-friendly event (it was the first concert for both of them.) After the show at the meet and greet, I loved watching my niece, who had just seen Xanadu for the first time the previous week, look up at Olivia with stars in her eyes. Olivia has always been an ethereal, larger-than-life musical icon and judging from the look on my niece’s face, that reaction has no generational opposition.

 

Olivia Newton-John

Here is a complete set-list and some additional pictures.  I’ve added chart positions (U.S. only) to emphasize that Ms. Newton-John was very much the Katy Perry of her time. To me, it is funny to scrupulously note every detail of the show with the zeal of a Dead Head, (“Dude, they did “Box of Rain” right into “Crazy Fingers.”)  Bro, she did “Suddenly” right into “A Little More Love.”

Olivia Newton-John Set List, Wellmont Theater, April 23, 2016

“Have You Never Been Mellow” #1 Pop, #3 Country, #1 AC
“Xanadu”  #8, Pop
“Magic” #1, Pop, #1 AC
“Suddenly” #20, Pop, #4 AC
“A Little More Love” #3 Pop, #94 Country, #4 AC
– Olivia exits stage left to change her shawl –
If Not For You” #25 Pop, #1 AC
“Take Me Home (Country Roads)” #119 Pop
“Please, Mr. Please” #3 Pop, #5 Country, #1 AC
[My six-year-old nephew turned to Kim and said, “Mom I really like going to concerts and this is my first concert”]
“Jolene” [my niece knew this song for some reason and sang along]
“If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” #5 Pop, #2 Country, #2 AC  [my niece sat in ketchup.]
“Physical” #1 Pop, #29 AC
– Band intros-
Duet with back up singer of unknown love song
“Cry Me a River”
“I’m Not Gonna Give in To It” [self-penned song of triumphing over breast cancer]
“Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee”
“You’re the One That I Want”, #1 Pop, #23 AC
“Hopelessly Devoted to You”, #3 Pop, #20 Country #7 AC
“Summer Nights” [with Didi Conn and, inexplicably, that guy from What Not to Wear], #5 Pop, #21 AC
“We Go Together”
“Grace and Gratitude” [original song she co wrote with Amy Sky]
-Oliva exits stage left, to change into silver gown-
“I Honestly Love You” #1 Pop, #6 Country, #1 AC
“Over the Rainbow”

Olivia Newton-John husband
With Olivia at the Wellmont Theater, April 23, 2016

Our last date, (circa 2005 at the post CMA Capitol Records party):Olivia Newton-John, Capitol Records post-CMA Awards party, NYC, 2004

Olivia Newton-John
“See you next time, Olivia!”

More Olivia Newton-John:

In Praise of Olivia Newton-John’s Wretched/Wonderful Xanadu

#TBT: Totally Hot! Olivia Newton-John’s “A Little More Love” from 1978

Eating With the Stars: Olivia Newton-John’s Tamaramma Tuna Salad

2 Comments

  1. Kathy
    May 16, 2016 at 11:51 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the nice article and pics. The song at the end of her set is called Grace and Gratitude not I Thank You. It’s actually become a very popular song in the Unity and Unitarian Churches.

    • David Munk
      May 17, 2016 at 3:10 am

      Hi Kathy,

      Thank you for reading and correcting my mistake. There were two songs that I had to guess at, so I appreciate. Are you in radio?

      David

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