After very recently completing a run of selected outdoor shows in Brisbane, Melbourne and the Hunter Valley in November (Read SCENEzine’s review) one of the world’s biggest reunited rock acts +LIVE+ have returned to our shores playing all capital cities and tonight it is Sydney’s turn down at the ICC.
For this tour they have brought along a very special guest, 90’s alternative dark rocker’s The Tea Party, creating a night of alternative rock not to be missed. The Tea Party are one of those seminal bands whose sound is unmistakable. Fronted by the charismatic frontman Jeff Martin, the man has a voice which just captivates you and locks you in your place, they are also the sort of band that sound better live than in the studio. It’s just the way Jeff plays with the harmonics of his voice and changes the way songs sound, it’s truly spectacular, and it’s not just his voice, tonight he played a double guitar, the bongo and at one stage used his guitar as if it was a violin.
Set list wise the mash-up of Sister Awake with their Rolling Stones cover of Paint It Black was good but what was truly sensational and so hauntingly beautiful was when during Heavens Coming Down we get U2’s With or Without You in the middle of the song only to go back and finish Heavens Coming Down, it was so moving. The time to finish was drawing near, Jeff addresses the crowd and says all those rumours you heard about us, the drugs, and the occult they are all true but let us not lead you into Temptation. What a warm up with a new album coming out they promise to be back.
When the lights go out a drum begins to beat in the dark shadows, we can see figures emerging on the stage and then as the beat picks up its rhythm, bang! The lights flash on and +live+ appear before us and we get rocking with All Over You. I think one thing you should be doing when you are an ageing rocker is come out looking sharp and +Live+ all look very sharp.
One of the great things about indoor shows is the use of lighting and tonight’s lighting was something honestly worth mentioning. The way it was used to great effects on certain songs, creating mood and atmosphere, add to that a giant visual backdrop that really helped to create something special, particularly on songs such as T.B.D and Shit Town.
I had never been to the ICC and one of the things that really blew me away was the sound, it literally just sat on your chest and was crystal clear. As a band, the guys were so sharp and so tight. Aided by their sons, one on guitar and one on drums would let rip quite a few awesome guitar solos during the set. They were all bluesy in sound, but you must give it up for Ed, his vocal range is astounding and by changing his pitch in songs like Iris it was just something incredibly great to hear live, but what always moves me is his cover of Johnny Cash’s I Walk the Line.
I can tell you that a live concert isn’t exactly the place you will find a mosh pit but when they played I Alone the whole floor got jumping, I think for some it was the most active they had been in years. The rocking wouldn’t stop as they transgressed into Lakini’s Juice, then the whole set would finale in a true rock style with flashing lights, wailing guitar and Ed jumping across the stage to White Discussion.
The cheers and roars would continue and we coaxed at least Ed back out. He grabs the acoustic and plays a stirring rendition of Heaven, and we all get involved as Sydney takes over and sings it out loud with our beautiful voices. Ed encourages us to keep those voices going, wanting to wrap us up and take us home with him and go on tour. On Turn My Head the whole ICC was awash in phone glow. Then with the whole band back out they play a tribute to Chris Cornell by covering I Am the Highway and then things end with Lightning Crashes, it was enough to bring tears to your eyes.
Review – Chad
Photo Gallery – Justin Ross