When Lulu was on our car radio recently, being interviewed, I was all ears. As soon as she mentioned that she would be performing in New York a few days later, I told Dan I would like to get tickets. That’s how we came to be at B.B. King’s on Saturday evening. Dan is such a good sport.
As a child I spent many Saturday evenings with my grandmother in the company of Lulu. We were not avid fans, but with just three TV channels, our options were limited. My seventy-something Gran found the twenty-something Lulu to be a little brash, but I enjoyed Lulu’s light-hearted and unconventional style.
In the late 1960s and early ‘70s Lulu was a mainstay Saturday night entertainer in the UK with a series of variety shows such as “It’s Lulu.” Other popular female entertainers of the day also had distinctive names and similar shows – Petula (Clark) and Cilla (Black). They were, I suppose, the UK’s equivalent of Cher and Mitzi (Gaynor) in the US.
Seeing Lulu perform live at B.B. Kings was very different to seeing her on my Gran’s telly. She appears to have shrunk — considerably.
Actually it was a sold out event. Dan and I had a good, albeit distant, view from one side. He was handsomely rewarded for being a good sport.
Accompanied by a band of seasoned musicians Lulu sang mainly American soul. Between songs she explained how American musicians influenced her sound, and recollected stories from her fifty year career (yes, she was performing at age 14) working alongside such legends as Lennon, McCartney, and Aretha Franklin.
Lulu’s performance was well received by the mature audience at B.B. King’s with the greatest appreciation coming toward the end when she sang “To Sir With Love” and “Shout.”
Hearing Lulu perform Shout made the whole evening worthwhile for me (I have danced and shouted many times to Lulu’s version of this high energy song); for Dan it was hearing “To Sir With Love” the theme song from the1967 film of the same name. Lulu co-starred in the movie with Sidney Poitier.
It wasn’t until after the show that I started to piece together my current fascination with Lulu. Besides bringing back good childhood memories, I admire Lulu for her energy and resilience. At 64, despite life’s ups and downs, she is still full of vitality and has not lost her clear sense of fun and enjoyment of life. And, as evidenced by several cameo appearances in the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
I’m pleased we got to see Lulu and can now add her name to a list of other legendary female artists Dan and I have seen together:
Click on the following link to enjoy some vintage Lulu courtesy of YouTube:
live. enjoy. repeat.