The Johnny Cash Roadshow is the ultimate ode to ‘the man in black’ featuring not just his tell-tale rhythm but a meander through his life, via slideshow.
For anyone, and there wasn’t many in the Webster who weren’t, unfamiliar with John R. Cash it would perhaps be a little unstimulating.
However, it was as pure a tribute as they come. Clive John, singer and songwriter in his own right, launched the show with ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ before running, almost non-stop through ‘Man in Black’ to his first ever hit ‘Cry Cry Cry’ before introducing the band: Nick Davis on guitar, Martin Beckett on upright and electric bass and Darren Bazzoni on drums.
Appearancing on stage was also Johnny Cash’s wife June Carter, performed by Jill Schoonjans. The pair sing a number of duets together and Jill confidentally and naturally addressed the audience, providing background on June’s family, heralded as the ‘first family of country music’.
It is evident from the detail in both Clive’s voice, dress and performance that he has paid careful and sympathetic attention to each element of the show. His timing and emotion is exacting and poise perhaps what one would expect from Cash - engaging but not over-the-top.
It is after all, about the music and it is through the music that Cash tells his story, conveys his feelings and communicates with the public.
Clive, Jill and the band have perfected this brand of performance. It is toetapping but not rabble rousing. Even when encouraging the audience to simulate prisoners in a jail he was performing to, akin to Cash’s visit to San Quentin, it wasn’t excessive, rather respectful, in appreciation of Cash’s character.
As far as tributes go it was faithful, perhaps just lacking a little oomph.