SuperBreak’s theatre guru, David Thomas took a break from the West End last week to see the legendary Johnny Mathis at the O2 Arena in London. Read on for his truly honest review of the evening…
A legend to many, to me the singer was a bit like Ecuador, Henry the Seventh and Red Rum. When they come up in a pub quiz you immediately grab your biro –and invariably give the wrong answer. So it was an uncharacteristic act of charity that made me accompany a friend to the O2 (a friend whose hot date had dropped out, coincidentally, because of a pub quiz final.) I hope their team won, because boy did they miss out big time.
I’ve heard a few singers in my time, even a few singing legends, but Mathis… it’s like his voice is woven from moonlight. A totally unique range of harmonies that break all the rules and then make their own. Imagine running across a golf course at midnight. You never know where the next step will take you. And the O2 was the perfect location for this simply astonishing voice –the gorgeous notes flying out across the arena like silver Frisbees, hanging in the air, circling and spiralling, sending hearts pounding and neck hairs bristling.
During the interval, we met with some of the faithful who had come to worship at the shrine of Mathis, from France, the northern shores of Scotland and all over the UK. All drawn by those other-worldly notes that had been a huge part in the soundtrack of their lives.
“We first saw him 45 years ago like…”, one Geordie confided arm in arm with his lady wife. “…and he is just as good now as he was then.” And forty-five years from now I will still be able to close my eyes and hear that totally unique, technically-impossible-but-utterly-right voice woven from the moonlight on a cloudless night in April.
Have you seen Johnny Mathis perform live on stage recently or in the past? Share your experiences of music events at the O2 Arena in London by using the comments box below.