Forum Theatre, Malvern – 22nd January 2022
Reviewed by Courie Amado Juneau
Miss it and you will Cry, Cry, Cry!
The Johnny Cash Roadshow is like watching a young Johnny Cash playing a career spanning greatest hits gig. Just the music and all the better for it!
Johnny is played by Malvern singer/songwriter Clive John who does a remarkable job, not just sounding like him but hitting his mannerisms too. This is far more than just a Cash impression though. It is obvious that Clive loves the man and the music is in his blood. In fact, Clive is a talented country performer in his own right with eight albums of his own material released. He has even won awards – which was no surprise to learn after hearing the original song which he played which sat very naturally amongst all the country classics – kudos to the man on stage!
Just like Cash’s shows, it isn’t long before “June” is introduced – played to perfection by Meghan Thomas. A very natural June, giving the show that Carter/Cash signature duet sound during Jackson as well as gorgeous backing vocals throughout. She also has her own moments to shine on several songs including Wildwood Flower, fitting given the Carter Family pedigree and heritage. Another fantastic song and a rare opportunity to hear an autoharp.
The show covers Cash’s entire output from the 50’s all the way through to his career rejuvenating American Recordings and beyond – with a rare outing of a lesser known gem from Cash’s posthumous 2014 album Out Among The Stars, the fantastic track “I Drove Her Out Of My Mind”.
The staging is perfect – a projected backdrop with photos of Johnny, June and various other well chosen images that perfectly compliment the music. This is especially poignant during songs like “Hurt” or “I Still Miss Someone” and (for instance) for adding context during the songs that are principally remembered from his prison shows.
In the unlikely event you’re not a massive Cash fan, there’s plenty for you too with many country classics that Cash also performed. The highlight for me was “On The Road Again” which is always a pleasure to hear!
It was especially nice to see The Highwaymen era represented. The track “Highwayman” from their eponymous album giving the band a chance to step forward and shine in the solo vocal duties. During this time of missing loved ones this was somehow even more emotional than during normal times. Similarly “A Thing Called Love” brought a tear to this reviewer’s eyes with all those images of Johnny and June so much in love in their heyday.
A spectacular show with sensational music and a total joy from start to finish from an absolutely stellar band on top form. I will definitely be catching them again ASAP and can’t wait! Perhaps the biggest pat on the back I can give them is on the way home I put Cash on in the car – that’s how good this show was! Do yourself a favour and catch this show.