David Cassidy Remembered
(David Cassidy died yesterday at the age of 67 -or didn’t, apparently he is in a coma-. I saw his final performance last year, he was feeling his age and I am not going to reprint it here. This one is a little kinder from 2011. I am sure I am not alone in considering Cassidy a teen idol par excellence and a man who spent his life in something between a teenage daydream and a Shakespearian tragedy. When people die you get the opportunity to view their lives not at some time within the living but at their life as a whole… as a whole it was an amazing feat of entertainment business he managed to maintain for his entire life. Let’s hope he pulls through and can read how well he is remembered -IL)
Before David Cassidy hits the stage at BB King’s on Friday night, Cathy Dupuis, who used to have Keith Partridge posters plastered all over her bedroom wall when she was a teen, warns me in no uncertain terms: “You be nice to him, Iman. Just write how great he is…” I acquiesce, even though Susan Daly was my favorite member of the music sitcom family from the very early 1970s.
But David doesn’t make it easy.
Looking very good for a 61 year old, and with little loss off his fine and tender voice and, as Cathy notes and Grace concurs, “He still has that smile”, it doesn’t solve his problem. Essentially David has a three song catalog of past hits, maybe a couple more, but that’s about it. So he needs to dole them out carefully: one at the begining and two at the end is what he decides. In a 90 minute set.
All well and good but the first song, the Partirdge Family theme “Come On Get Happy”, is re-arranged as a blues buzzer and in the annals of lousy ideas this must be high upon the list. I mean, really, David, if your fans ae there to hear your handful of hits don’t rearrange em. Shut up and sing the damn song.
It is an inauspicious start and it takes David, who hs gabby but not revealing, speaking about getting drunk with John Lennon on New Year’s Eve (Lennon’s lost weekend) and singing “Hey, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” with David taking the McCartney part and then covering it on acoustic guitar, for the set to right itself again. A couple of numbers later he nails “In My Life” dead, reaching the falsetto ending, not with ease, but at least he got there.
Before that, we get to hear some Cassidy stories and they’re not bad but they’re not great. Born in New York, he began his career as a two dollar an hour mailboy, got a job on Broadway and quit his dayjob, then followed his muse to Los Angeles where in 1967 at the age of 17, he was in place for the the summer of love AND to sit in on the recording of “Crossroads” which he proceeds to play… his band are nothing special and while the leader can play guitar, he isn’t good enough for this and doesn’t have much feel for the blues. Think of Michael J. Fox at the end of the first “Back to The Future” -that’s what we’re talking about. Later he tells a rambling story about carrying the namesake of the club we’re ins’ guitar “Lucille”, up a hill. He proceeds to cover “Sweet Little Angel” and, really, why David? Why?
David is on much surer ground with old Partridge Family tracks, and he does a smattering of them: “Point Me In The Direction Of Albuquerque”, “Cherish” and an excellent, robust “Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted”. But he really doesn’t discuss his biggest moment, the Keith years, in any detail. When I saw the Monkees earlier this year, they showed their audition tapes, Cassidy says nothing at all about his years on the show or what it was like to be a teenage heartthrob at, er, 20 years of age.
The audience, at least the women in the audience, treat him like a hearthrob still and he is kinda sweet to them, touching hands, reaching out from the stage. And it is hardly his fault he didn’t have more hits.
Towards the end of the set he gets it together, an improvised “On Broadway” is followed by “Want To be Wanted” and finally the old one two, “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” and “I Think I Love You”. By the end the girls (!) in the audience are singing along and Cathy and Grace are shaking their booty. A little earlier David has said he won’t be touring much any more, more’s the pity. He is a charming singer and, yes, the girls still do undersand.
Is that nice enough, Cathy?