At 28 years old I was quite possibly the youngest person in the audience on
Thursday night when iconic British rocker Sir Cliff Richard took to the stage at
Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena, but I was jealous of the way the 72-year-old shook his
hips for the duration of the impressive show.
After growing up watching
his Summer Holiday (1963) film countless times, it was an honor to see the
singer knock out hit after hit from his long and illustrious
Richard seemed genuinely excited to be performing in Israel. He
addressed the crowd with a heartfelt “Shalom, Tel Aviv.” He reminded them how it
was exactly 25 years ago since he last performed in Israel and vowed to try not
to leave it so long till the next performance.
Wearing a slick black
jacket complete with hundreds of sparkly sequins and tight black pants, Richard
spent most of the first half performing some of his biggest hits. Nearly all the
songs included his signature dance moves and he didn’t seem to tire and wasn’t
out of breath when he told funny anecdotes between each number.
engaged a lot with his loving audience and told stories of how he likes to
travel and enjoys it even more when he goes to parts of the world where people
don’t recognize him. Growing up in the UK, I just assumed that Cliff Richard was
a household name throughout the world, so I was surprised to discover that he
was almost unknown in places such as the US.
Richard was joined on stage
by a modest band and three backup singers, who doubled as dancers for many of
the numbers. The three very talented singers danced along to some very
choreographed moves and for many of the tracks the two male singers stood either
side of Richard and the three looked like a very slick boy band, albeit from the
The first song to really get the crowd clapping and singing along
was “Living Doll,” during which Richard danced and swayed as if he was in his
20s. There was less dancing involved during “Summer Holiday” and “Bachelor Boy,”
but he really gave it his all throughout both of those numbers, which are very
dear to my heart because they are both from the film Summer Holiday.
highlights of the first half were definitely “Lucky Lips” and “Congratulations,”
which had everyone singing along.
In true diva fashion, Richard came back
after the interval in a new outfit that consisted of a bright red jacket, cool
Conversestyle sneakers and skinny jeans so tight that even the boys of One
Direction would be jealous. He treads a fine line between looking ridiculous for
his age and growing old gracefully but makes it work because he doesn’t take
himself too seriously and just does what feels comfortable for him.
between more anecdotes, Richard brought the house down with a rendition of “Hand
Jive” joined by his two trusted male singers/dancers. His performance of “The
Young Ones” was just as impressive as he effortlessly swung his hips and ran
around the stage like an excitable teenager.
The standing ovation he
received before the encore was a testament to how well-loved the iconic singer
is. What was even more impressive is how he managed to keep the crowd, most of
whom were similar in age to him, on their feet and dancing along to the last
three numbers.a Richard vowed to return to Israel because he loves performing
here so much. He first performed here 50 years ago and then again 25 years
later. Even if it takes him another 25 years until the next show, I have no
doubt that he will be moving and swaying around the stage, even if he needs a
walker to help him.