Stockbridge Cabaret - August 22, 1998
I had the good fortune to see David Campbell perform at the Stockbridge Cabaret in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on Sat., Aug. 22, 1998. It was the second consecutive summer that I've seen David perform there. As usual, his show was outstanding.
David opened the show with his version of "I Got Rhythm," as sure an attention-getter as this reviewer has ever seen. David slyly interpolates a line from "I Got Plenty of Nothin'" to marvellous effect.
The melodious "To Be Alone With You" followed, and then David raised the roof with Berlin's "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy," the song's title underscoring David's obvious joy of performing.
David's ebb-and-flow dynamics enhanced Wildhorn's "Storybook" from "The Scarlet Pimpernel," a tour-de-force number about the lovers of whom we dream. Dreams can sustain us for a time, but the song's character yearns to meet a real love who can show him "the way to stop dreaming." David's dramatic skills laid bare for us this tension between fantasy and reality.
David dedicated the beautiful standard "When I Fall in Love" to the grandmother who raised him, and then brought real sizzle to another standard, "Old Devil Moon."
The singer explained that he has been trying to incorporate more contemporary material into his how, which--for cabaret--means songs written within the past 30 years or so. He sang a lovely medley of Tom Waits' Johnsburg, Illinois" and Randy Newman's "Marie."
Even more contemporary was his next number, "It Will Always Be You," which was a gift to him from his father, Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes (it was penned by one of Barnes' band members). With its slow tempo and David's pure, high tones, the song achieved a kind of pop-rock sensibility, bringing to mind some of the best work of the group Journey.
David changed the mood a bit with "As Seen on TV," a send-up of soap operas that detailed the many tragedies which befall the characters in television serials.
The singer paid tribute to one of his country's best exports, the late singer/songwriter Peter Allen, in a medley which included "I Still Call Australia Home," "Just To See My Name in Lights," "Everything Old is New Again," "I Go To Rio" and "Arthur's Theme." Campbell's touching salute to Allen reminded us what a prolific talent her was. The medley ended with David's beautiful, heartfelt rendition of "I Honestly Love You."
Campbell's dramatic talents were once again demonstrated with his spare rendition of "Yard Sale," cabaret singer/songwriter Tom Andersen's story-song about a young man who, we presume, is dying of AIDS, and who is "moving on" and must therefore sell off all of his possessions. This could be weighty stuff, but David's understated reading of the lyrics quietly conveyed the song's power and made it moving without being maudlin. The audience's reception of the song was overwhelming.
John Bucchino's "Taking the Wheel" served as the perfect vehicle for a young man who is out in front and in control of his life and his dreams. "There's only one way to get where you want to go," Campbell sang, taking us along with him on his heady, confident ride. There's no stopping this young man as he rides the trajectory to stardom.
After breaking the audience up with a wickedly funny imitation of Mandy Patinkin (singing "Hello Dolly") that showed the singer to have a true talent for mimicry, David ended his set with a powerful rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." The audience gave him a standing ovation.
Thanking his talented accompanist/musical director, the much-lauded Chris Denny, David said farewell with a stirring performance of "From This Day On" from Lerner & Lowe's "Brigadoon."
The audience gave the singer a second standing ovation as he left the room. David Campbell is a performer with a future. He's going places.
B. Douglas Swiszcz
"Grateful, grateful, truly grateful I am......