It was almost exactly five years ago. In August of 2017, Olivia Newton-John performed at the Victory Theatre in Evansville and I had FRONT ROW seats. For so many kids who grew up in the late 70s and early 80s, Olivia was everything.

Come on! You know at some point in your life, you have thrown a cigarette on the ground (or pretended to), put it out with your foot and said, "Tell me about it, Stud."

Not only was she the star of Grease, one of the movies that defined our generation, but she was THE pop goddess of the early 80s. I mean, was there any elementary, middle or high school kid who, much to the dismay of our parents and teachers, didn't know every single word to the song, "Physical?"

Well, my friends and I were pumped when we found out that Olivia was going to making a tour stop in Evansville that year.  Initially, the concert was set for Friday, May 19th, but she had to postpone that date a few months because she was battling cancer again. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, her eventual August 2017 date in Evansville was her very first concert back post-treatment.  I felt privileged to be able to snag tickets in the front row for that show.  Today, moments after hearing that the pop icon has passed away at the age of 73, I feel that privilege even more.

Here are some photos we took from that show.  Olivia was absolutely radiant that night and, as expected, sang her greatest hits like a pop-country angel.  She was phenomenal.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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And, naturally, we couldn't contain our excitement when we got to the show and realized just how close to Olivia we were going to be!

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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What I remember most about the show was that she was so exceptionally sweet and gracious that evening. I suppose, from her standpoint, it was great to finally be back on stage and performing for her fans. She said that more than once.

For us, it was an incredible chance to be up-close-and-personal with an entertainment legend- to hear her story, to hear her sing.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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She smiled as us, talked to us, winked at us and, yes, sang for us with that glorious voice.  She was transcendent.  At the Victory Theatre that night, Olivia Newton-John was everything we had imagined her to be.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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Olivia passed away at her ranch in southern California after a long battle with breast cancer. The pop legend may be gone, but we'll always remember her and the incredible songbook she left behind.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
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For me, I will remember her for a lot. But, today, I am holding onto that August night in Evansville, with Olivia, at the Victory.

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