News Articles - David's Australian Tour 2002
Trouper with a twinge
The West Australian Today
Friday, September 20, 2002
Pictures : Craig Sillitoe
After four years in the Partridge Family, 10 years in therapy and five years on stage in Las Vegas, you'd expect David Cassidy to be either a very, very nice man, or dead.
He's very, very nice.
Even when he's working a little hotel function room for a handful of (mostly) female journalists, hardly the gig of his life, he plays it like it's main stage at the Hollywood Bowl.
Anecdotes, jokes, goofy play-acting and heartfelt confessions pour out, coated with a honeyed voice that sounds like he's introducing a musical number.
He starts with a little speech about how much he loved Sydney .... then modifies his line as he realises he's in Melbourne, to a general praise of the Australian people.
"We envy your love of life and your celebration of life, how open (you are) and how you have a great time and enjoy yourselves," he says.
It's all in the earnest delivery. But ... maybe he's a little too cute for a 52-year-old. And there's the occasional hint that he feels his age more than most.
David Cassidy was the young star of the Partridge Family when the show premiered in 1970 and became the world's highest paid solo entertainer by the age of 21.
Since then he has pursued acting and then in 1996 opened at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with a huge production called EFX, that played to nearly a million people.
Now he is back on the road with a concert tour.
He tells the story of the last time he was in Melbourne in 1974, playing in front of 75,000 people at the MCG.
"It was a remarkable day, very hot," he says. "An amazing event."
The outfit he wore on that day - burgundy velvet with bird-like decorations - was stolen. But in April this year a fan came to his show at Hammersmith Apollo in the UK, with the suit.
"I have the suit now, she gave it to me," Cassidy says. "The same suit that I wore and you know what ... I tried it on.
"I got into it. It was tight in there but I was a really skinny young guy. You know. Young, underlined."
He pauses, sighs.
"I'm fit, you know. I stay fit and I work so much, I'm relatively the same size.
"It's a cruel thing, age, isn't it? You lose hair here, you get hair here and here."
He points out the appropriate bits.
"But I strap my guitar on and I'm doing the same thing I did when I was 19. I feel relatively young."
He's certainly keeping busy. For the past year he has done up to 10 shows a week.
He has done 3000 shows in the past decade, nearly 100 concerts.
But this is the first time he has returned to Australia.
"The last time the only way I could travel was wrapped up in a blanket and chucked into the car," he says.
"The band was out having a great time and I'd be locked up in my room, sitting up there having baked beans on toast and watching rugby and soccer."
His life is different now. The fans are just as enthusiastic, he says - the atmosphere at the concerts is incredible - but there are differences.
"There was a pitch to 13 and 14-year-old voices that you can't quite recreate," he says.
"The voices have dropped an octave and they don't throw love beads and toys and things at me. They throw really sexy G's and bras and all that lingerie kind of stuff."
It's good not having to be a role model any more, he says.
Back then he was good friends with rocker Alice Cooper.
"Alice is a sweet, very religious guy," Cassidy says. "But his image was the prince of darkness and I was the prince of light.
"And we used to hang together and I was much wilder than him. But because of my television show and the character I played and the innocence of the show and the time ... they marketed that.
"I was a red-blooded American boy. In my teenage years at high school I saw Hendrix five times, I saw Clapton, Cream, Jeff Beck, BB King ... My friend and I hitched up to (hippie central) Haight Ashbury ...
"I wasn't a bad guy or a dangerous guy but I was a wild rockin' teenager. Now I'm a wild, rocking, 50-year old."
He finds it hard to pick a highlight of being Keith Partridge but he thanks the role for giving him the chance for a career in showbiz - and the chance to do this concert tour.
"It's high-energy, it's a love-fest, it's a celebration," he says earnestly. "My shows are ... you can't describe it, you have to come and see it. But I promise you, from what I have heard from people, I don't know that you have ever seen the likes of it."
So what do you do in this show, asks an awed reporter. "I get naked," he replies.
The room cracks up. He's a showman that's for sure.