BWW Reviews: ADELAIDE CABARET FESTIVAL 2014: AN EVENING WITH DARLENE LOVE and Her Powerhouse Voice
Reviewed Friday 20 June 2014, 9pm Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre.
The final weekend of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival bought the incredible Darlene Love's concert An Evening with Darlene Love to an enthusiastic Adelaide audience for a one night only engagement.
Supported by backup singers, led by Milton Vann, Ms Love worked through a number of medleys of music from her days as a backup singer and her solo work that had the audience tapping, clapping and dancing in their seats as they recognise the string of rock and roll classics. The power and the soul in Love's renditions make it clear why Love was chosen to support such an impressive line-up of singers from Elvis Presley, Cher and Marvin Gaye.
Ms Love intersperses little snippets of personal information and observation between the songs which draws the concert away from the straight forward string of songs type of concert and a little closer to the intimacy and personal connection of cabaret. For those not as familiar with her story and the history of the music, the snippets of information helps link the songs and the listing of her previous visits to Australia helps highlight her career progression from supporting other big names to being recognised in her own right. She candidly shares her experiences and feelings from the 2014 Oscars where she joined the producers of 20 Feet from Stardom, in which she is one of the featured artists, on stage as they accepted the award for Best Documentary Feature. As with the Oscars performance, Ms Love shares a roof raising acappella rendition of His Eye is on the Sparrow which also reflects her gospel music upbringing.
Songs including Killing Me Softly, Today I met the I'm Gonna Marry, and Lean on Me bring a tenderness that balances the bigger rock numbers like He's a Rebel and show Love's flexibility and range. Love's astounding vocals are backed by a mix of local musicians drawn from the Adelaide Art Orchestra and her own musicians, led by music director, guitarist, Michael Jacobsen.
Whilst some of the vocals from the back-up singers seemed drowned by the band due to sound balance issue, a re-occurring issue with the venue, the audience enjoyed themselves and following prompts from Ms Love, were out of their seats clapping and dancing, and would have gladly sat through more.
Photo Credit: Greg Allen/Invision/AP