Review: The Johnny Cash Roadshow, Grand Opera House

15 Oct 2014 @ 8.17 pm
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Musical journey… Clive John as Johnny Cash

  The Johnny Cash Roadshow
  Grand Opera House, October 14

The Johnny Cash Roadshow is not so much a tribute act as a celebration of his music, encompassing the years 1955 to 2002. That’s a heck of a long time, and explains why so many of the songs were new to me.

Luckily some of my favourites were still in there, and I enjoyed the new to me material.

For the performance of San Quentin, a song once played for the inmates of Fulsom Prison, the audience was asked to participate in the same way the felons at Fulsom had. They did an incredibly realistic job of it!

The rest of the time, the almost capacity audience could be found tapping their feet or clapping their hands. They enjoyed the show so much they gave a standing ovation at the end.

What comes across throughout the show is the pleasure the performers take in what they are doing. They were all enjoying both the music and the performance.

There are lighthearted moments throughout, as well as some pretty dire jokes from guitarist and backing singer Nick Davis that were so bad you couldn’t help but groan.

The backdrop of the stage is a huge screen. All night it displayed images of Johnny Cash and his family or images appropriate to the song being performed.

The playlist didn’t follow any particular direction, moving from the Fifties to the Eighties and back again. A lot of the songs being performed were personal favourites of the performers.

Clive John plays Johnny Cash, and is both convincing and talented. He didn’t look bad at all considering he’s hardly had any sleep since the arrival of his new baby daughter this weekend. (Congratulations Clive and family).

Jill Schoonjans took on the role of June Carter, not just vocally, but in character as well, from playing a harp-like instrument to the little kicks and steps that June included on stage.

I’ve said before that the Grand Opera House often struggles to master the sound balance between vocal and instrument. This wasn’t the case this evening.

The mix of double bass, drums, Fender guitar and brass in the finale was perfectly matched with the backing singers and the main performers.

Johnny Cash’s music tells a story, each song taking you on a musical journey if you will let it. Tales of lost love, murder, revenge, poverty and drug addiction set to a country rock beat, or an acoustic guitar.

Overall it was a very enjoyable evening, good entertainment and most of all, great music.