Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Motown Event, Australian setlist

There have been a few changes since New Zealand in order of acts and sequence (and number) of songs. Instead of closing out the concert, the Temptations are the climax of the first half. And the Four Tops are now the (anti-) climax of the second.

Ain't no theatre wide enough... (Photograph: Chris Boyd)

Here's the set list from the first Australian performance (at Rod Laver Arena) tonight.

Mary Wilson of the Supremes

Love Child
Medley: Baby Love/Stop in the Name of Love
You Can't Hurry Love
You Keep Me Hangin' On

The Miracles

You've Really Got A Hold On Me
Shop Around
I Second That Emotion
Tracks Of My Tears

Joan Osborne

My Guy
Don't Leave Me This Way

Ian Moss

Everything's Alright ("Uptight")

Ian Moss with Joan Osborne and Jimmy Barnes

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

The Temptations

Get Ready
Just My Imagination
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
My Girl
The Way You Do The Things You Do


Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Jimmy Mack
Nowhere To Run
Dancin' in the Street

Joan Osborne

Destination Anywhere
Midnight Train To Georgia

Jimmy Barnes

Money (That's What I Want)
I Was Made To Love Her
I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Jimmy and Mahalia Barnes

River Deep Mountain High

Highlight of the Four Tops set... Chris Newman's lighting.

Four Tops

Baby I Need Your Lovin'
Medley: Reach Out/Walk Away Renee/Standing in the Shadows/I Can't Help Myself/...


I'll Be There
Ain't No Mountain High Enough

The Motown Event - celebrating 50 years of Motown Hits. Rod Laver Arena Melbourne, Tuesday February 16, 2010. Also Sydney Entertainment Centre on the 19th, Brisbane Entertainment Centre on the 23rd and Sandalford Wines, Swan Valley WA, on the 28th.

My review should be in Friday's Herald Sun.


Here 'tis. As printed:

If Tuesday’s concert had been half an hour shorter, if the Four Tops had missed the plane and Mahalia Barnes had got the gig instead of dad Jimmy, if Joan Osborne had stopped after just the one song (a remarkably good rendition of My Guy), if the voices had been mixed as brilliantly and as cleanly as the band... then this gig would have won a perfect score, an even five stars out of five.

But Barnesy was brutal; completely out of place. And The Four Tops had me briefly considering topping myself. Everything after Vandellas’ survivor Martha Reeves’ rendition of Nowhere To Run was superfluous.

Up to that point, we had marvel after marvel after marvel. We had Mary Wilson’s delicious renditions of one hooky Supremes song after another: Love Child, Reflections, Baby Love and Stop In The Name Of Love... though she ran out of air and her voice flattened too soon.

Then, if anything, the Miracles upped the stakes. Perhaps because I didn’t expect them to. Mark Scott’s tenor was so silvery and natural, simple songs were revealed to have great riches under the tinny tarnish. And the Temptations closed out the first half with great fun and showmanship, singing Get Ready, My Girl and Ain’t Too Proud To Beg. Here, Bruce Williamson starred.

Martha Reeves might have been the least agile of the lot, physically, but her voice Catherine wheeled its way around the constellations in songs like Heatwave and Jimmy Mack and, best of all, in Nowhere To Run. Her performance was risky, soulful and utterly committed. She was an impossible act to follow.

After Reeves, Jimmy Barnes was as shocking as punk after disco or a chainsaw on soft flesh.

Concert projects like these reveal riches in old music that early recording technologies routinely gouged out. It’s as if we’re hearing the songs properly for the first time. It’s so much better than mere better than remastering. It’s a total restoration.

And, at fifty, Motown is looking -- and sounding -- damn fine.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Marianne Faithfull concert setlist

For all my fellow trainspotters, here's the set list from Marianne Faithfull's first concert at The Forum in Melbourne on Friday February 5, 2010.

01. Times Square [by Barry Reynolds, from MF's A Child's Adventure]
02. Down From Dover [by Dolly Parton via Nancy 'n' Lee]
03. The Crane Wife Pt. 3 [The Decemberists]
04. Solitude [Duke Ellington via Billie Holiday]
05. Hold On, Hold On [Neko Case]
06. The Flandyke Shore [trad., dedicated to Kate McGarrigle]
07. Broken English
08. In Germany Before The War [Randy Newman]
09. Crazy Love [Faithfull/Cave, from MF's Before the Poison]
10. Kimbie [Jackson Frank]
11. Salvation [Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, from BRMC]
12. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan
13. Sister Morphine [Jagger/Richards/Faithfull]
14. As Tears Go By [Jagger/Richards] ["... the start of it all."]
15. Why D'Ya Do It? [Heathcote Williams/Faithfull et al.]


01. Dear God Please Help Me [Morrissey/Whyte from Morrissey's Ringleader of the Tormentors]
02. Sing Me Back Home [Merle Haggard]

My review is scheduled to run in Tuesday's Herald Sun. I'll post it here when I can be arsed!

In the meantime, Bob at That Striped Sunlight Sound has posted some nice pics of the Brisbane concert, at The Tivoli, and his thoughts.


Okay, here 'tis...

At the ripe old age of 63 -- fully four and a half decades after her first international hit -- Marianne Faithfull is still stage struck. She feeds on adulation like a Russian ballerina, inviting ovation after ovation. And she gets it from the pilgrims, young and old.

And this tour, more than any of her recent visits, demands blind and unwavering loyalty from the faithful. Faithfull’s most recent release, the double CD Easy Come Easy Go, is far and away her worst since the 1990s: ugly recordings of indifferent arrangements of 18 covers, from Ellington and Bernstein to Neko Case and Morrissey. From Dolly Parton and Randy Newman to BRMC and The Decemberists.

On Friday, she sang *ten* of those songs. Which left just seven to span the previous 45 years. Ignoring the riches of Kissin’ Time, Faithfull offered just one song from the period 1983-2008: ‘Crazy Love’, a song she co-wrote with Nick Cave.

The three songs from her 1979 masterpiece Broken English were the best and worst of the concert. The title song was potent and urgent. ‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ was pleasant enough but ‘Why D’Ya Do It?’ was dully mechanical instead of slashing and acid. Vague irritation instead of towering rage.

The very oldest songs (her first singles ‘As Tears Go By’ and ‘Sister Morphine’) were more than just crowd pleasers. They showed that Faithfull’s melancholy preoccupations are not the products of age or mortality.

The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song ‘Salvation’ -- half way through the set -- nailed it: “Do you feel alive? Can you feel alive?” Those words -- for a moment -- closed the gap between singer and audience.

The live arrangements were generally good -- the seven piece backing band was excellent -- but the mix was unflattering. Marianne Faithfull’s voice is parched and weary and doesn’t stand up to bright lights and sharp focus. It needs the audio equivalent of candle light. It got fuzzy soft focus instead. Shame.

This review appeared in the Herald Sun on February 9, 2010.

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