ENTERTAINMENT
30/09/2015 10:59 BST | Updated 30/09/2015 11:59 BST

Cliff Richard Receives Standing Ovation From Devoted Fans BEFORE He Sings A Note

If Cliff Richard was worried that the trials and tribulations of his past year had distanced his fans, the reception to his arrival on stage for his first UK gig would have put forever to bed any fears that they would be less than devoted.

When Cliff strode onto stage last night at Birmingham's Symphony Hall - dressed in a simple sparkly silver jacket, black trousers and shoes, he received a standing ovation from the 2,000-strong crowd, and that was before he'd hit a note.

cliff richard

Cliff was visibly touched by his reception at Birmingham's Symphony Hall

It was the same at the weekend in the Irish town of Killarney where he kicked off his 75th birthday tour at the weekend. On that evening, fans stormed the stage but it wasn't to throw their knickers - it wasn't Sir Tom they were seeing after all.

Instead, they delivered personal letters of encouragement, such loyalty rewarded by his new song 'Golden', which he previously revealed was a tribute to his fans' steadfastness in times of trouble.

The subject of untiring press attention into his personal life following the raid on his Surrey home in August last year, Cliff contented himself with making an oblique reference to the goings-on.

"The press can be funny," he told the crowd, but he wasn't referring to the investigations into historical sexual abuse by South Yorkshire Police. Instead he mentioned a flight earlier in the year, when a delay meant he ended up at the bar.

"The press men said Cliff looked a 'little fraught'. I wasn't fraught – I was drunk," he told his adoring fans, knowing that would get them giggling.

Cliff is having a good week. His album of greatest hits - 75 at 75 - sits at number four in the charts. And it was also announced last Monday that one of the three investigations into the allegations against him has been dropped by the South Yorkshire Police.

A fortnight ago, Paul Gambaccini, broadcaster who has written a book about his experience of being investigated for historical sexual abuse, revealed that Cliff has been "praying for his accusers".

Paul told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He's keeping his wits, and he knows of the love and support he's getting from the British public. We are in contact, and I'm glad to be able to be of support to him."

And Paul added: "If Cliff Richard is ever convicted of any criminal offence, I will eat mine, Paddy Ashdown and Alastair Campbell's hats."

Cliff's tour continues until 18 November, when he takes to the stage at London's Royal Albert Hall. Tour info here.

Cliff Richard on 75th birthday tour

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