Review: The Osmonds At Plymouth Pavilions
by Clare Robinson
March 12, 2012
JUST a few days ago we witnessed The Dubliners at the Pavilions as part of their 50th anniversary tour.
Well, the Osmonds, who rolled up at the Pavilions on Sunday night, can do even better than that. They’ve enjoyed a show biz career that has endured 54 years and promised this as a farewell tour. Starting back in 1958, when Merrill Osmond was five and his brother Jay was three, they formed as a barbershop quartet with brothers Alan, nine, and Wayne, seven. Taught to sing by their parents, the original idea was to help raise funds to support their elder brothers Virl and Tom who were both deaf. The fundraising part I knew nothing about until last night, but actually, the show filled us in on many interesting details about the Osmond family.
In fact the show opened with a film called Did You Know?, which consisted of a series of questions about the clan with multiple choice answers. It was fun to start and quite informative, though it grew a tad tiresome after 15 minutes but then a warm-up set by the backing band proved even less entertaining.
The main men appeared after the break – looking rather portly, but still in exceptionally fine voice – and set the bar high with a rousing rendition of Crazy Horses, followed by top 40 hits Down By The Lazy River, Having a Party and The Proud One.
The youngest Osmond, 48-year-old Jimmy, who we learned had put the show on the road, was MC for the evening, stopping for frequent chats between tracks either to tell us about the songs or update us on how the family are doing. He explained that Wayne recently had a stroke and had been told by his doctor not to travel, hence the appearance of three instead of four brothers. He hopes to join the show later in the tour.
Alan, he informed us, has multiple sclerosis, but is coping well with the condition.
Despite the sad news, the show was very much up beat, and we were treated to a nostalgic trip through the Osmond back catalogue with the help of vintage film footage showing the quartet singing close harmony barbershop as pre-teens on the Andy Williams show on which they featured regularly throughout the 60s.
Impressive back then, they were just so on Sunday when they launched into an a cappella rendition of the first song they ever performed on TV, The Auctioneer.
However it was the clean-cut toothsome teenie pop period that everyone was waiting for and the archive footage and accompanying live songs didn’t disappoint, much to the delight of the largely female, not quite capacity, crowd.
As Love Me For A Reason closed the show, they didn’t quite manage to give the brothers the hysterical reception they would have received in their heyday, but came pretty close.
It was a fitting finale to a quite remarkable career.