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! 

 

Setlist: 

Magic

Xanadu

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

Physical

The Promise (The Dolphin song)

Don’t Cut Me Down

Live On

Not Gonna Give Into It

 

 

You’re The One That I Want (John Travolta and Olivia Newton John song)

Hopelessly Devoted

Summer Nights (with Didi Conn)

We Go Together

Grace and Gratitude

I Honestly Love You

Encore:

Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Harold Arlen cover)

 

 

We would like to thank Weston Mays from Team ONJ for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Gus

My first opportunity to write about music was with Kissunderground, featuring just one band (KISS). In 2006, I started working for another outlet that showcased more musicians. It was a great experience for me at the time. I personally nailed down some great interviews during my time at glam-metal.com (Paul Stanley, Jonathan Davis, Slash and Sully Erna to name a few). In early 2009, I decided to venture out on my own with the idea of creating a website that has all the offerings that a reader would want in a music review website. That’s when Backstageaxxess.com began.
I’m so proud of what was created here and of our staff that brings it to you. Each one offers a diverse opinion and a creative ability to share it in a unique way. We are so lucky to have them here.
When discussing making a list of favorite shows with the staff, I also found it hard to narrow that list down to a select handful of shows. Everyone experiences a concert in their own terms, whether it’s the show itself, maybe it’s the people you met there and the new friendships created, or maybe it was meeting the artist at the show. For my criteria, I tried to stick to just the show itself, but again, it was sometimes hard to do.
My first concert was Sammy Hagar’s first tour with Van Halen at the Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY, on August 30, 1986. My favorites are as follows:
1. Kiss – Tiger Stadium – Detroit, Michigan 6/28/96
2. SARS (Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, and handful of other bands) – Downsview Park – Toronto, Ontario 7/30/03
3. Paul McCartney (every McCartney show I saw was awesome, but Iwent with my first show) Air Canada Centre -Toronto, Ontario 10/10/05
4. Motley Crue – Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY 12/19/89
5. Kid Rock – Tweeter Center – Camden, New Jersey 3/25/06
The honorable mentions would be any McCartney show (The Joint at the Hard Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2009 or Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario 8/10/10), Prince (Club 2112) at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas 12/30/07, Heart (Pulse Lounge * only 200 people) Hilton Hotel, Anaheim, California, January 21,2008, Monsters of Rock (Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come) Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY 6/19/88 and the Rocklahoma Festival (Queensryche, Lita Ford, Triumph, etc.). Also, Cher (with my mom) at the Blue Cross Arena Rochester, NY, November 22, 2004.