The Final Reunion (DVD)
Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2010
REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/30/2010
Cliff Richard is to England as Elvis Presley was to the United States. He began his career in the late ‘50s as the frontman for the rocking Shadows. A decade later, they went their separate ways and Richard went on to have a stellar career as a solo artist. The Shadows continued on as well, releasing 23 solo albums and close to 60 singles.
Richard’s stats in the United Kingdom are truly staggering. He has amassed 14 number one hits and has had 125 singles reach the Top Forty. While he had moderate commercial success in the United States, worldwide he has sold 250 million records and CDs.
In the fall of 2009, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, Cliff Richard and The Shadows reunited for what they are calling The Final Reunion Tour, which will continue into 2010. The Final Reunion Tour DVD is a chronicle of those shows. It was filmed during their three-day stint at the O2 arena in London. While it was recorded over a three day period, the overall feel is of one continuous performance, as the 40 song, two hour-plus set flows by quickly.
They may be past retirement age, but Cliff Richard and The Shadows can still rock, and the concert is energetic from beginning to end. They wisely stick to songs which they recorded together and eschew Richard’s later pop material. Number one hits such as “Living Doll,” “Traveling Light,” “Please Don’t Tease,” “I Love You,” “The Young Ones,” “Bachelor Boy,” and “Summer Holiday” return to the stage in fresh, modern interpretations.
Richard’s voice is still supple, clear, and formidable and has lost little range despite the passage of time. He can still hit the high notes with ease. After a half century of performing, he makes it all look so effortless.
Original Shadows guitarists Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch are both present here. Marvin was one of the most influential guitarists in English history, and he demonstrates his skill on song after song. His tone is excellent and each note has an individual clarity and precision. Brian Bennett is the newest Shadow, as he joined in 1961 to replace Tony Meehan, who died in 2005. His drumming provides a solid underpinning for their sound. Only bass player Jet Harris is missing from the lineup.
It seems some thought went into the recording process, being that both the sound and visuals are excellent. There is also a thirty-minute behind the scenes documentary, which provides a number of reflective interviews with the participants.
The Final Reunion tour is a rare chance to see one of the legendary groups of rock ‘n’ roll history. It should appeal to Richard’s millions of fans who want to remember and maybe earn him a few new ones on this side of the pond as well.