THE CONCERT by Charles Aznavour at the Albert Hall was held up for ten minutes at the start when the amplification went completely dead and had to be replaced by a new system.
A start like this is disconcerting for any artist but after an apology from compere Jay Vickers, who calmed any discontented members of the audience in both français et anglais, Aznavour showed that he was not going to let it worry him.
He sang about girls he has known, love and nostalgia but in an ironical slightly bitter style that never became over romantic. He seemed like a man battered and confused by the way life and love have treated him but who will carry on nevertheless.
His songs, which included ‘Happy Anniversary’, ‘I Saw Venice Turn Blue’, ‘La Mamma Isobel’ and ‘The Comedians’ were backed subtly yet effectively by his five piece group.
Personally I found a whole evening of his brooding, intense style of singing a little overpowering but the audience, which must have included just about every French girl in London, could obviously have listening all night.
© James Johnson, New Musical Express, 3 October 1970