DAVID BEDELL AND STEVE CLARKE AT THE CRZY COQS, PICCADILLY

11 Jan

DAVID BEDELLA AT THE CRAZY COQS WITH STEVE CLARKE ***** 

It was a great pleasure and a privilege to watch David Bedella Livestream from the Crazy Coqs.  

The Coqs is the most elegant and atmospheric venue – a favourite place to spend an evening. It is a sadness that it is not currently in use, but to see Bedella is a joy at any time. David is a handsome man from Indiana with a smile that breaks your heart, his dark complexion is an inheritance from his Mexican heritage. He has a sure way with a lyric and oddly enough, the fact that there is no audience involvement allowed me to concentrate totally on his expert performance. He and his friend and accompanist, Steve Clarke, have put together an unusual array of songs which they perform with love and expertise.  

I had a slight problem getting into the stream because of my password which changed during the lockdown, so I did miss his first few numbers. 

However, I was there to catch Bedella’s tribute to his idol, the late great David Bowie, on his birthday. He told us that Bowie had taught him how to live, how to behave. He loved Bowie’s gender fluidity, his talent for reinventing himself. Bedella did a performance of “Life on Mars” with such clarity and understanding, I am tempted to say better than Bowie himself if that could be possible. I found out things about it the lyrics I had never noticed before. he made it all so clear for me. Certain lilnes resonated. “The girl with the mousy hair – she’d seen the film and loved it ten times or more” and  “Take a look at the lawman beating up the wrong guy”  

Michael Jackson’s “One Day in Your life” was treated in a – silly word – gentlemanly way. A simple torch song sung with emotion and sincerity was moving.  

A remark by Rishi Sunak, our Chancellor of the Exchequer, was happily exposed and sent up by the number from “Sweet Charity” “There’s gotta be something Better than This”. Rishi’s the remark inferred that being a performer was a job requiring no skill and suggested that actors train for something else. In the song, the dancer heroine tries out being a hat check girl and a receptionist. David sings it as it is.  

The songs were perfectly placed on the menu. The song from Mack and Mable had me in tears. “I won’t send roses”  a beautiful song performed by Mack, the anti-hero, is sung by a man who tells the truth and doesn’t make promises. “Forgetting birthdays is guaranteed” The lyric is so sincere and Steve is particularly sympathetic on the piano. There are times when it is good to have a bit of a weep, very unusual for me, but this guy just hits the notes bang in the middle and does the same with the emotion. Every so often, during this really horrible time we are living in, we need to have a good cry. And Bedella is the absolute epitome of heart. The sincerity shines through him and one cannot help but feel his empathy and to cry along with him. How he manages not to cry himself is a miracle. Well, he is a professional  

The conversation between songs was obviously ad-lib in the modern style. After all,  jokes are a waste of time when there is no audience, to appreciate them. It was better to just go on singing. We get scraps of information. Steve met David when he was third trombonist in an orchestra. Davids first show was “Hello Dolly” and he fell in love with Jerry Herman’s music, its scope and his arrangements. He stood in the wings on Broadway for Cage aux Folles and watched Gene Barry sing “Song on the Sand every night. At the age of seventy singing the most beautiful song about being young and in love”  

David had handed Steve a piece of paper with some notes written on and asked Steve to do an arrangement. It turned out to be an inspirational song called “Choose a Star.” Something like ‘the stars have eyes, they see you with all the souls that have gone before, Believe you can fly, the young wings will come to you To carry you to the Winters Sky’  

David’s last song addressed his unseen audience. He sang words like “Don’t worry about me, I’ll remember the lovely time we had, I will never forget you  so don’t worry about me.”  

Then he gave a farewell speech thanking Steve for his magic and Tom and Stella for sound and lighting  

He said “Times are hard, we should stand up and talk about things,This led to his finale – a hymn.  

“Let there be Peace on Earth. ” 

I just want to say how brave he was to do this. To perform without an audience. Five stars.  

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