News Articles - David's Australian Tour 2002
Top of the Pops
The Sun Herald
Sunday, September 15, 2002
David Cassidy is old enough to be a grandfather but he says his female fans still throw underwear on stage. Peter Holmes reports.
AT BEST it seems hopelessly optimistic and at worst borderline delusional, but when David Cassidy brings his travelling roadshow to Australia in November he is booked to play the Sydney Entertainment Centre, a venue with an 11,000-seat capacity.
It's a decision that's had some in the music business archly raising an eyebrow, for 32 years have passed since Cassidy took the role of Keith Partridge in TV show The Partridge Family and 17 years since a Cassidy single entered the Australian Top 60 (The Last Kiss). His last locally released album, Didn't You Used To Be (1992) didn't even register a blip on the ARIA Top 100 chart.
As for the man himself, there's no sense the tour is an ambitious undertaking - rather, Cassidy views such arenas as more of a natural downsizing from his teen idol days in the 1970s when songs such as I Think I Love You ruled the airwaves.
"I wouldn't want to play anything bigger than 10,000 again," he said. "I think it's too much and you lose touch. I played to 70,000 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (in fact, MCG records show the conert, in March 1974, attracted a crowd of 21,085). Let me tell you, 10,000 is an intimate room. Believe me. I want to be able to connect to everybody in the room and you can't with a venue any bigger than that."
At 52, David Cassidy has not only survived but prospered in a way few could have imagined when punk's gnarly sound emerged about 1976 and appeared to snuff out his chance of fashioning a long-term career.
The spunk who once adorned all spare space on teenaged girls' walls had quickly become a human punchline. For a period the whole experience did his head in. Coming out the other side, though, Cassidy had learnt to laugh at himself and the cult of David Cassidy (who once had the biggest fan club in the history of pop) and his alter ego, Keight Partridge.
Indeed, when George Michael - who recorded uncredited backing vocals on a Cassidy single in 1985 - was publicly humiliated after being arrested in a Beverly Hills public toilet in 1998, Cassidy phoned to offer support.
"I called him just to say all of us have gone through a certain amount of adversity, and it's unfortunate when you're a famous person and it gets flogged around and you become a joke," he said. "But he's a very deep, caring and really good person."
Like a musical Zelig, David Cassidy's life has seen him in the same room, venue or recording studio as acts such as The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, DEVO, legendary session players Hal Blaine, Louie Shelton and Larry Carlton and, well, Sheena Easton and Hear'say. Former page three pin-up/pop star Samantha Fox also came into Cassidy's orbit in 1985, posing nude with the singer. "I had nothing to do with that image," Cassidy protested lamely. "(We) took some photographs and the next thing it's all over the papers and on a picture disc (for the single Romance). I have to tell you, there was a lot of weight in my hands that day. I actually haven't addressed this in about 15 years, but nice of you to bring up that memory."
In a long and strange career there's been B-grade movies (for example, Spirit of '76 in 1990 alongside Rob Reiner, Olivia D'Abo and Leif Garrett - US gross $52,000), three marriages, dud albums and regular interest from Where Are They Now? - type programs.
However, Cassidy came good in the mid - 1990s. He starred on Broadway and in the West End (alongside Sir Laurence Olivier), produced two shows in Las Vegas and replaced Michael Crawford in the Vegas spectacular EFX, racking up more than 1,500 performances.
Through the fallow times Cassidy found solace in words spoken almost 30 years ago by his father, the late Jack Cassidy, an actor who enjoyed a formidable television career.
"(He told me) one very specific thing," Cassidy said. "When I was playing stadiums he came and saw me once at Wembley in London. He was backstage and he took me aside, and he almost never did that.
"He said: 'Some day when you walk away from this and try and create something else, it's going to become very difficult for you. I want you to remember this: talent will survive. And you've got it. You have the thing that everybody wants to have, and that's a gift. I have it and you have it' ".
In 2001, after years of shying away from performing his greatest hits, David Cassidy began touring again and has since played about 75 concerts.
"It's the most incredible thing I've done," he said. "I can't describe it to you - the outpouring of love and energy. Not having gone out and flogged this material night after night, year after year, it's like I've opened up a chest of drawers and found all these jewels."
Cassidy admitted his audience had aged and no longer threw beads and shells on to the stage as they did in the 1970s.
"now they throw lingerie, bras and underwear," he said. "It's seriously slammin'."
David Cassidy's latest album Then and Now is available through Universal. He plays the Sydney Entertainment Centre on November 16. Bookings through Ticketek 02 9266 4800.
Acknowledgement : Thanks to Elfie for supplying the scan of this news