Many fans were eager to see singer/actress/activist Olivia Newton-John’s performance at the Bergen PAC. In May of this year, doctors discovered that Olivia Newton-John’s cancer had reappeared and metastasized into her lower back. It’s been 25 years since her original diagnosis of breast cancer and many of her dates (including the one at Bergen in the spring were postponed). Olivia gives thanks to her Wellness programs associated with her Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia. She states these types of programs she are helping to get back on the road to perform in front of her fans. ONJ continues to surround herself with a bevy of talent. Her band consists of Kerry Marx on guitar, Mark Beckett on drums, Matt McKenzie on bass, Marlen Landin and Steve Real Y Vasquez on backup vocals, band leader Dane Bryant on keyboards and Steve Nieves on Saxaphone and percussion. Nieves was the only change from last year’s show as he was taking over for Warren Ham as he was finishing up dates with Ringo Starr.
OLN was in great spirits as she took the stage promptly at 8pm to sing her classic song “Magic.” It took a few songs to her voice to warm up but once it did, she was on fire. Her 2016 effort “Liv On” really takes on new meaning to her as she draws inspiration of performing such tracks as “Live On” and “Grace and Gratitude.” “Live On” was one of the highlights of the evening as she hit the high notes it seemed with ease. Vasquez joined her to sing “Suddenly.” OLN slowed things down some as she took to a stool with her bassist and her guitarist also doing the same on each side of her as they did a medley of some her songs.
She talked about how much her husband John Easterling has played a vital role in her life. She dedicated two songs in his honor. The Promise (The Dolphin song) and Don’t Cut Me Down and advocating for both causes through these songs.
The highlight of the evening was when OLN talked about how she always loves coming to the area to play cause she gets to see one of her close friends. She then asked Didi Conn (She played Frenchy in Grease) to stand up and wave then she asked her to come up on stage to sing “Summer Nights.” She did and brought the house down. Of course she was given a pink ladies jacket when she sang and fit right into the theme of course. What a moment to witness!
You wouldn’t tell anything was different from ONJ. In fact, her performance at Bergen may have been better than the one she gave last year when I saw her at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, NY. A great night of music for the sold out crowd and we were all glad that OLN was there to provide it!
Suddenly (Olivia Newton John and Cliff Richard song)
Deeper Than the Night
Stronger Than Before
Don’t Stop Believin’
If You Love Me (Let Me Know)/Have You Ever Been Mellow/Please Mr. Please/Let Me Be There
The Promise (The Dolphin song)
Don’t Cut Me Down
Not Gonna Give Into It
You’re The One That I Want (John Travolta and Olivia Newton John song)
Summer Nights (with Didi Conn)
We Go Together
Grace and Gratitude
I Honestly Love You
Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Harold Arlen cover)
We would like to thank Weston Mays from Team ONJ for the credentials to review the show.