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Review: The Osmonds, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
The Guardian
by Dave Simpson
April 11, 2012

As One Direction conquer the US, the American prototype boy band are touring Britain for the last time. However, the singing brothers from Utah are not entirely what they were. Alan has retired after developing multiple sclerosis, Wayne is absent following a stroke and Donny – as ever – is off performing solo, wowing Vegas. However, the remaining trio of Merrill, Jay and "Little" Jimmy (just 48) come armed with Marshall amps, two drum kits, fireworks and a keyboard that shoots sparks. Even their youngest fans are pushing 50, and the unlikely but raucous heavy-rock opener Crazy Horses sets the tone for 90 minutes of ageing Osmondmania, with scarves held aloft and women rushing the stage.

  1. The Osmonds
  2. Forum Theatre,
  3. Malvern
  4. 12 April
  5. Box office:
    01684 892277
  6. Then touring

The Osmonds' 1970s hits seem to have been forgotten by British radio, but it's hard to exaggerate just how huge they once were. As Jimmy puts it: "Fifty-four years in showbusiness, 100m records sold – and a few of them good ones."

Four decades on, mocking self-effacement ("Jay started performing when he wore nappies – he still wears nappies") has replaced teen appeal, but the (not-so) Little Jimmy is bang on. His brothers may have worn appalling lime-green jumpsuits, but they wrote their own songs, did everything from Jackson 5 harmonies (One Bad Apple) to Brian Wilson doo-wop dreaminess (I Believe), and newies Break Your Fall and Remember Me could be songs for the revived Take That.

This enjoyable show perfectly balances comical one-liners and emotional nostalgia with audible "Aahs" during old footage being shown of them as singing tots. After Jimmy's knowingly sent-up Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, and a gooey, riotous Love Me for a Reason, they leave the stage insisting "we'll never forget you" and shaking fans' hands that, you suspect, will never be washed again.



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