Cliff Richard And The Shadows took a packed out Odyssey Arena on a nostalgic trip down memory lane last night.
The ‘Peter Pan of Pop’ may be just one ‘Summer Holiday’ away from his 70th birthday but he still proved he has the voice and the moves to |delight women of a certain age.
The ‘Young One’ — reunited with The Shadows’ again for a farewell tour marking 50 years in showbusiness, emerged onstage in a pink jacket and tie — soon had people rocking in their seats with a string of his early hits.
But during the early part of the set it was the classics ‘Living Doll’ and ‘Do You Wanna Dance?’ that had the warmest receptions.
“I’m so glad you came out. It is obvious there is nothing on television tonight,” he joked.
“But it is good to be back in Belfast. We have chosen a lot of songs that we hope will bring back many memories.”
But it wasn’t just all about Cliff. Many people came along especially to see The Shadows.
Hank Marvin, one of the pioneers of rock and roll guitar, was on top form playing a collection of Fender Stratocasters, with his trademark clean sound and tremelo sounding as fresh as ever.
Tanya Blamphin, originally from New Zealand but now living in Holywood, Co Down, is something of a diehard Cliff fan, having been to see him performing live over 50 times.
Last night she and husband Paul brought along daughters Amelia (8) and Madeleine (5) for their first Cliff concert.
“I just think he is fantastic, very talented. He can sing a wide variety of styles,” she said.
Paul joked: “I made a deal with Tanya that I would go to one Cliff concert every year. But he always puts on a good show and I’m never disappointed.”
Amelia and Madeleine, who brought along cushions so they had a better view, both agreed that Cliff was “ a really super singer” and that ‘Summer Holiday’ was a particular favourite of theirs.
Eileen Taylor, from Belfast, has notched up about 12 Cliff concerts.
“I first saw him in the YMCA in Belfast on a gospel tour 32 years ago. I think he is just gorgeous. He brings out a new calendar every year and I always get it for Christmas.”
Maureen Gregg, from Newtownabbey, said: “I think Cliff is wonderful, but The Shadows are even better.”
David Anderson, from Belfast, was primarily there to see The Shadows.
“I’ve been a fan since I was about six. It’s just the sound they make, I love their music.”
Margaret Sturgeon, from Finaghy, was at the concert as her teenage daughter Christina had bought her a ticket for a Christmas present.
“Cliff is just a really lovely fella. He’s a fantastic singer and his looks aren’t bad either. I’m sure Christina will enjoy it but she would probably be rather watching The Killers or someone like that.”