Physical Tour

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Physical Tour
Tour by Olivia Newton-John
Promotional poster for the tour
Associated album Physical
Start date 9 August 1982[1]
End date November 1982
Legs 1
No. of shows 64 in North America
Olivia Newton-John concert chronology

The Physical Tour was the fifth concert tour by Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, in support of her 12th studio album, Physical (1981). The tour consisted of 64 shows in North America only,[2] the second largest by Newton-John, visiting arenas and stadiums. It's the first concert tour by Newton-John since 1978 and her last in 16 years, until The Main Event Tour.

The show had advanced technical aspects at the time, and was divided into four segments, determined by Newton-John costume changes and a video interlude.[3] The tour was a commercial success and received generally positive reviews, regarded as one of the most popular and most remembered shows by the singer.[4]

The Physical Tour has been broadcast on a number of channels across the world. A VHS and LaserDisc version of the performances was released in 1983.[5]

Background and development[edit]

Billboard announced in July 1982 that Newton-John would embark upon a 50-date swing North American tour from early August, her first in four years (the last was the Totally Hot World Tour). The tour was called "Physical Tour", and a TV special based on show also was confirmed. Newton-John stated that this would be her last tour to concentrate on her film career.[1][6] However, after the failure of the film Two of a Kind (1983), which she starred again with John Travolta, her film career went on hiatus, and she would return to touring 16 years after the Physical Tour.

The first attempts for the setlist included the songs "Come on Over", "Don't Stop Believin'", "Pony Ride" and the music video for "Stranger's Touch" (from Olivia Physical) as a video interlude.[7] The jazz musician Tom Scott was the tour musical director and also played saxophone in the band. He also served as the opening act, performing songs from his album Desire (1982).[3] Olivia's personal friend, Karen Carpenter, attended various tour shows, and considered the possibility of drumming during a few concerts, but dropped because of her deteriorating health.[8] John Travolta also attended a show, and joined the stage with Newton-John.

The stage was created by Kenny Ortega, who also choreographed Newton-John music videos for "Physical" and "The Rumour". The technical features used in concert includes a glittery substance falling during "Silvery Rain", and three videos: an introduction montage about Olivia's career, the music video for "The Promise (The Dolphin Song)" as a video interlude, and screened credits for the band and crew members at the concert ending.[3] Newton-John also jumped rope through "Physical".[9]

During a 1983 article for People, Newton-John declared she didn't like to tour in 1982: "Every night was like déja vu. You say to yourself, 'Haven't I just done this?'"[2]


Robert Hilburn from Los Angeles Times compared Debbie Gibson performance on her Out of the Blue Tour with Newton-John's Physical Tour, commenting that "recalled the most triumphant moments of Olivia Newton-John's 1982 'Physical' tour" and "as the evening progressed, it became clear that Newton-John (who exhibited a similar aerobic energy, sparkling smile and even blonde bangs) was a closer parallel".[10] British duo Goldfrapp performed a cover of "Physical" on their 2001 concert tour. Alison Goldfrapp herself said later that Newton-John is one of the duo inspirations.[11]

Critical response[edit]

Jon Pareles from The New York Times commented that "purists may be offended – particularly in country music, where she dallied awhile – but pop singers like Miss Newton-John make new styles safe for mass audiences just as they're on the way out. [...] Miss Newton-John has a nearly colorless voice, distinguished mainly by the break between a perky chest register and a fragile head voice. Yet it is also extremely adaptable; onstage, she summoned country's quavers, disco's melismas, pop's directness and hard rock's percussive staccato. She sounds delicate on her records, but she sang a 90-minute set with no obvious strain."[9]

Paul Grein from Billboard wrote: "Newton-John first local apparition in five years – since her co-starring role in Grease revived and redirected her career – was a total triumph, eliciting the boisterous fan response normally seen only at rock shows. [...] Newton-John also sings with greater strengths and conviction, even on the older ballads. Her emphatic vocals gave an extra emotional dimension to the rueful 'Sam' and the plaintive 'Please Mr. Please'."[3]

Commercial reception[edit]

The tour had 64 shows through 40 cities of North America, with a total of 562,428 tickets sold.[2][4] The Exhibition Stadium show in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, had all of the 24,789 tickets sold.[12] Based on nine shows, Billboard Boxscore reported a gross of $1,519,823.00. Items related to the tour that were sold include clothings,[13] buttons[14] and the tourbook.[15]

Broadcast and recordings[edit]

The tour video recording was filmed in Ogden, Utah, on 12–13 October 1982.[5] An interesting fact is that "Physical" has caused controversy in Utah after two radio stations banned the song because "lyrics are more suggestive than most songs".[16] The video was premiered on HBO on 23 January 1983, as Olivia: Live in Concert TV special.[4] Later was released on VHS and laserdisc by MCA Home Video as Olivia in Concert,[5] becoming a critical and commercial success.

The video release peaked at #15 on Billboard Top Videodisks and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipment of 50,000 units in the United States.[17] The video also gave for Newton-John nominations for a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video and a CableACE Award for Actress in a Variety Program.[18] People wrote: "Mini-clad and punk-coiffed, Livvy rocks her way through a concert taped at Weber State College in Utah. "Xanadu" and "Heart Attack" are fetching, but "Physical" is the aerobic showstopper".[19]

Opening act[edit]


  1. "Career Overview" (Video Introduction) (contains elements from "I Honestly Love You", "You're the One That I Want", "A Little More Love", "Xanadu" and "Physical")
  2. "Deeper Than the Night"
  3. "Have You Never Been Mellow"
  4. Country Medley:
    1. "Let Me Be There"
    2. "If Not for You"
    3. "Please Mr. Please"
    4. "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)"
  5. "Jolene"
  6. "Sam"
  7. "Xanadu"
  8. "Magic"
  9. "Suddenly" (with Dennis Tufano)
  10. "A Little More Love"
  11. "The Promise (The Dolphin Song)" (Video Interlude)
  12. "Silvery Rain"
  13. "Falling"
  14. "Heart Attack"
  15. "Make a Move on Me"
  16. "Hopelessly Devoted to You"
  17. "You're the One That I Want" (with Dennis Tufano)
  18. "Physical"
  19. "I Honestly Love You"

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America
9 August 1982 Columbia United States Merriweather Post Pavilion
10 August 1982
12 August 1982 Philadelphia The Spectrum
13 August 1982 New York City Forest Hills Stadium
14 August 1982
16 August 1982 Hartford Hartford Civic Center
22 August 1982 Clarkston Pine Knob Music Theatre
23 August 1982
25 August 1982 Montreal Canada Montreal Forum
26 August 1982 Toronto CNE Stadium
28 August 1982 Richfield United States Richfield Coliseum
2 September 1982 Dallas Reunion Arena
3 September 1982 Albuquerque Tingley Coliseum
4 September 1982 Austin Frank Erwin Center
11 September 1982 Charlotte Charlotte Coliseum
12 September 1982 Murfreesboro Murphy Center
15 September 1982 Pittsburgh Civic Arena
18 September 1982 Lexington Rupp Arena
22 September 1982 Oklahoma City Myriad Convention Center
24 September 1982 Kansas City Kemper Arena
26 September 1982 Saint Paul St. Paul Civic Center
1 October 1982 Oakland Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena
2 October 1982 Fresno Selland Arena
7 October 1982 Los Angeles Universal Amphitheatre
12 October 1982 Ogden Dee Events Center
13 October 1982
15 October 1982 Tempe ASU Activity Center
16 October 1982 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena

Box office score data[edit]

Venue City Tickets sold / available Gross revenue
The Spectrum Philadelphia 11,700 / 13,100 (89%) $156,747[20]
Hartford Civic Center Hartford 10,433 / 16,000 (65%) $150,627[20]
CNE Stadium Toronto 24,789 / 24,789 (100%) $327,398[12]
Reunion Arena Dalas 11,504 / 19,012 (60%) $166,589[21]
Frank Erwin Center Austin 12,494 / 14,259 (87%) $177,267[22]
Monte Hale Arena Murfreesboro 10,103 / 12,224 (82%) $137,857[23]
ASU Activity Center Tempe 8,592 / 14,099 (60%) $127,950[24]
San Diego Sports Arena San Diego 8,060 / 11,300 (71%) $115,878[24]
Kemper Arena Kansas City 11,151 / 12,230 (91.2%) $159,510[25]
TOTAL 108,826 / 137,013 (79%) $1,519,823




  1. ^ a b "Google News – Sarasota Herald-Tribune – 5 July 1982". 
  2. ^ a b c "People – Animal Magnetism". 
  3. ^ a b c d e Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-10-23). Google Books – Billboard – 23 out. 1982. 
  4. ^ a b c Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-12-25). Google Books – Billboard – 25 dez. 1982. 
  5. ^ a b c "Only Olivia – Olivia in Concert". 
  6. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-07-03). Google Books – Billboard – 3 July 1982. 
  7. ^ "On the Road Blog – ONJ Physical Tour proposed setlist". 
  8. ^ Schmidt, Randy (2010-05-17). Google Books – Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter. ISBN 9781569766941. 
  9. ^ a b "Pop: Olivia Newton-John". New York Times. 
  10. ^ "Los Angeles Times – Pop Music Review: Gibson Wins Teen Queen Crown". 
  11. ^ "Xtra! – Goldfrapp on the new album and drawing inspiration from Olivia Newton-John". 
  12. ^ a b Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-09-11). Google Books – Billboard – 11 set. 1982. 
  13. ^ "More Than Physical – Physical Tour t-shirt". 
  14. ^ "Acme Toy Company – Button Physical Tour". 
  15. ^ "Market Place Advisor – Olivia Newton-John 1982 TourBook". Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "EW – Olivia Gets 'Physical'". 
  17. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1985-02-23). Google Books – Billboard 23 fev. 1985. 
  18. ^ "IMDB – Awards for 'Olivia in Concert'". 
  19. ^ "People – Picks and Pans Review: Olivia Newton-John Special". 
  20. ^ a b Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-08-28). Google Books – Billboard – 28 ago. 1982. 
  21. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-09-18). Google Books – Billboard – 18 set. 1982. 
  22. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-09-25). Google Books – Billboard – 25 set. 1982. 
  23. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (1982-10-02). Google Books – Billboard – 2 out. 1982. 
  24. ^ a b Google Books – Billboard – 30 out. 1982. 
  25. ^ Google Books – Billboard – 09 out. 1982. 
  26. ^ "IMDB – Full cast and crew for 'Olivia in Concert'". 

External links[edit]