David Cassidy At BB Kings, Saturday, March 4th, 2017, Reviewed

Written by | March 5, 2017 13:13 | 5 responses

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As some of you know, no  flash photography or video. As some of you know, I’ve had five eye surgeries, I am going next month for my sixth eye surgery. And my eyes have become so sensitive to light that when people like that, I ask them to turn it off, they don’t. Turn it off or go. Please everybody, no flashes, no flashes. No videos. We do this all natural. Everything you hear tonight… I ask you not to yell at me, scream at me. It’s hard enough for me right now. It’s such a beautiful night for all of us, especially for me. Just don’t yell or scream at me for awhile. Otherwise I’ll stop it here, I’ll leave. You fantastic people are here and supporting me for what might be the most special night since my Broadway debut at the Broadhurst Theatre, 1968. So what I’m going to ask you that if you want tp applaud fine, but not while I’m talking… Please.. If you wouldn’t mind…. That’s all I ask, just be here…. I asked you not to do that, will you please not do that…. No… No… I don’t know how many times I have to ask you. Stop. If you want to shoot, shoot without a light. I CAN’T SEE VERY WELL, DO YOU UNDERSTAND? I’VE HAD FIVE EYE SURGERIES. Please don’t ignore me, tonight’s a great celebration for me and you’re ruining it for everyone… I will walk off this stage right now….”

We aren’t half way through the first song of David Cassidy’s final tour date and it is exactly what you probably thought it was going to be, only on steroids. I have come to praise Cassidy if I possibly can. The son of the actor singer Jack Cassidy, the stepson of Shirley Partridge, has just been on Dr. Phil to announce he has dementia after a disastrous West Coast performance. He also announced his retirement from touring, though not from live performance entirely and not from the entertainment industry. This is it folks and the last thing we want to do is send him off with a spanking.

But he makes it difficult.

In keeping with his strange and extreme career, from selling out the world twice over in 1972 to bankruptcy in 2015, the former ridiculously gorgeous 20 year old actor singer is estranged from his daughter and his son isn’t at the farewell performance ( according tto E!, after watching his mother’s decline from dementia, he told his 26-year-old son, Beau Cassidy, “I want you to promise me you’ll find a way to let me go. Don’t let me live like that.”), is an alcoholic, has risen and fallen and risen to a degree again. He spent seven years tending his mother so he knows what he is in for and isn’t in great shape at BB Kings, his final show.

“Please don’t do that. I don’t know how many times I have to stop and ask you. Just be grateful to be a part of what for me is the end of touring, I’m not retiring, I may do a show or two who knows, but touring is over for me. And I’ve done it for forty-seven of the forty-nine years I’ve been a performer. Thanks to you, thanks to you. So please respect the fact that I really, really am suffering and when you get five eye surgeries, you’re in serious trouble, man. And I am. But I’m gonna go and I want you to be with me, and I don’t want to keep stopping and asking people to stop videoing me. And no lights or flashes. That’s all. That’s all I ask. Be with me, ok? Don’t do it. ARE YOU DEAF, DUMB AND BLIND? Do not do it, as I’m asking you not, you start doing it…”

We are not three songs into the set and I seriously regret showing up. For some bizarre reason, we were kept in the freezing cold for half an hour before being let in. I’ve been to BB Kings countless times, hell I’ve been there on New Year’s Eve, and it has never ever been like that. They have seriously oversold the room, I arrived at 630 for an 8pm show and couldn’t get a table, there were so many people standing around fights were breaking out. What were they thinking of? Cassidy claimed he was offered the Beacon Theatre but turned them down and chose BB Kings instead and I  bet he could have filled Radio City as well.

As noted, Cassidy came on stage and gave us all some tough love, before launching into a two hour set of which half was reminiscing and half was performances that he clearly couldn’t sing. Because he had laryngitis. No, really. But that wasn’t all. He can’t play guitar for more than a song or two because he has arthritis. The man is a walking disaster area.

Still, we got Cassidy as usual, here is Lennon and David in LA, there is Cassidy carrying “Lucille” for BB King as the still unknown David follows the blues giant out of the Whiskey-A-Go, here he is working at the mailroom while auditioning, there he is with Davy Jones -his new bff. We’ve heard these stories before, but he expanded upon them (the David meets BB at the Grammys is new). While David claims it is a trip through his back pages, the show has always also worked as a tribute to his heroes as well.  “I’ll Meet You Halfway” is the Gerry Goffin lyric track Cassidy did years and years ago, “In My Life,” “Daydream Believer,” “Sweet Little Angel…”

“Please. No flash photography, no video, no shouting while I’m talking. I want this to be such a great night for me, and for you… I want you to understand how much I appreciate the way you’ve given me this gift.” When he is not telling us to shut up, he is calling us the greatest love at all.

But Cassidy should have kept his voice for his singing because he croaked his way through the 120 minute show (he usually plays 75 minutes). Before singing a song he was taught by his dad when he was 4 years old, “Night And Day,” David admits that he has no voice but was gonna sing it anyway, and really, he has no voice for it tonight but he gives it everything he has. I kinda admire him for it. The early version of “Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque” is the worse I’ve ever heard but it didn’t feel like that because he was trying so damn hard it was difficult to dismiss it. Really, the song was his career in miniature: he is a limited talent who got very lucky and wants so much to emulate his hero but is an unlikely sad sack. On the Partridge Family, his Keith is deflated and made normal by the family from his exalted position of pop star narcissist. And so in life. From a true rock god who wanted nothing more than to be Mick Jagger, he just couldn’t do it and ended up (like his father) an alcoholic, and like his father, a mediocre talent but still a true talent.

Bounce guitarist Larry Lachmann called it the feel bad tour, and that’s what it is. Cassidy’s voice let him down so he couldn’t give the performance he wanted, the audience wouldn’t listen to him, he wanted to love us but we wouldn’t abide, his stories rambled, his band should have NEVER EVER been given the chance to solo, and the man whines and whines and whines and yet… there was something oddly disarming about his performance. It was too similar to his career. And by the end of the evening, a beatific “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” followed sharply by “I Think I Love You,” he was rewarded with the adulation he once had. Could it end any other way?

Grade: B

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5 Responses to “David Cassidy At BB Kings, Saturday, March 4th, 2017, Reviewed”

  1. Margaret Staadt

    “Mediocre talent?” Excuse me? Back in the day David had incredible talent that matched his stunningly gorgeous appearance. He embraced the Partridge songs later in life. He had incredible talent with blues also. I think he could have done whatever style he chose to do.

    He didn’t decline much in performance or appearance for the next 20 years. Check out his Glasgow performance in the shiny blue shirt where red lace underwear was tossed onto his shoulder and he got a little naughty with the lyrics of “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” song. But I do feel all of his hairstyles after the famous shag of his Partridge days really took a lot away from his appearance, as does the current red hair coloring.

    What is left there now of our beloved David is merely the result of various health problems on top of age. We all age. And he has been through hell. I don’t think he allowed the alcohol to take over until the dementia entered into the picture, and the alcohol aggravates all dementia symptoms, including personality changes. And then he was abandoned by his wife. I couldn’t imagine a marriage partner leaving me right when I get a dementia diagnosis. What happened to the marriage vows “in sickness and in health?” Then the much-loved son told him he didn’t want to hang around him instead of promising to take care of him.

    I am glad that you gave him credit for soldiering on in the performance, even though he didn’t feel good. He always did work very hard at entertaining people. I am glad that his last performance was in a place that was special to him, even though its size did not accommodate a larger crowd.

    Maybe the performances these days are disappointing, but I wouldn’t have been so personally demeaning of him if I’d written this article. And Shirley’s real last name is Jones, not Partridge.

    Reply
  2. lisa boland

    My God! Could you be any more heartless?? Why bother to go if you knew he was suffering so? Your writing is sub par. I’d like to see you fill a room. How dare you kick a human being when they’re down?

    Reply
  3. Lori Morra

    Forgive me in advance for being long winded but I have been inspired by so many of your posts and comments to speak out once more. As the saying goes, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.” Too bad that doesn’t apply to critics and some ‘fans’. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion but the same words can’t be said with kindness? Many of the comments I’ve read were criticizing those of us who loved David’s last appearance at BBKing’s. For those people I would like to say the following-
    We are not looking at David through rose colored glasses. We simply appreciate him for who he is… talent, flaws and all. We appreciate that he came and gave us his all even though he is suffering. I have been to almost every concert in the tri-state area for all 49 years of his career. Pictures I post are always ones I have taken myself. Never once did David yell at me to stop because they are without flash and because I treated him with respect. Those of you criticizing him for yelling at the audience for taking flash photos after he specifically asked them not to… I wanted to yell too! In the early years he was consumed by millions of fans screaming throughout his performances and that was okay. In later years, after finishing his time in Las Vegas and going back on tour, many of you accused him of being a diva. I was at those performances and he didn’t want people screaming and talking over him anymore. Neither did I!!! Lastly, please remember that David is suffering with laryngitis, arthritis, eye issues, early onset dementia and recovering through alcoholism. Please do not forget that alcoholism is as much a disease as those other things and he still deserves to be treated with kindness and respect and admiration for all that he has done and all that he continues to do. He put on a great concert and again… I am so glad for all of us who were there to share that with him! No rose colored glasses… a simple love and appreciation for the man David is today. Thank you if you got through this. 😊

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