Category Archives: Gig Reviews

QPAC, Brisbane, 2 Sept 2004

(Quick note: no, I haven’t turned into the kind of crazed Deborah
fan who follows her round the country. At least, not intentionally.
Not long after my last post about the Katoomba gig, I suddenly had
to organise a trip to Brisbane for work on very short notice. It was
only after I’d booked the plane tickets and sorted the hotel that I
thought “hmmm, wonder who’s playing in Brisbane Thursday night?”
Since I was going to be in town anyway . . .)
QPAC is quite a different venue to the previous ones — it’s
a ‘proper’ theatre, rather than a restaurant/bar arrangement, which
means no-one is drinking for one thing — but it still has a really
nice vibe. The place wasn’t packed for Thursday night’s gig (which
had a ‘first in, best-dressed’ seating arrangement), but I imagine
it’ll get more full for the weekend gigs. It also seemed a slightly
older audience (which may be a QPAC subscriber thing, though the
women to my right were clearly Deborah enthusiasts).
Deb and the guys (and the drummer’s name is Al Barton, forgive my
error in the earlier posts) are really starting to gel as a band —
which is not to say that I have any complaints about the earlier
shows, but there’s just a nicer feel about the interplay between
them now. Andy (the bass player) even opened his mouth and said
something for the first time!
And as an added surprise, we got a completely different set
of ‘greatest hits’ from the previous gigs, which is especially nice
for those of us who for whatever reason end up seeing the same
performer three times in the space of a week (and that’s not
counting the house party).
In fact, enough went on that I think I’d better do a partial track
by track review:
Stay On Track – A good opener as ever. Interestingly, while the
Sydney fans clapped and screamed during the ‘false pause’ near the
end of the song, both the Katoomba and Brisbane crowds maintained a
respectful silence (which works better since the song isn’t actually
finished at that point.)
Accidents Happen In The Home – A fair few people seemed to know this
one, so I’m guessing the Body Shop has been doing a roaring trade
with the free singles (or perhaps it’s slathered over Brisbane
radio. Hey, a man can dream . . .)
Any Fool – Deb still introduces this song by explaining
her “everyone has one mistake they’re condemned to repeat” theory,
but then goes on to say: “I don’t want to be controversial, but I’d
like to dedicate this song to John Howard.” Proving the point about
mistakes, she then managed to completely mess up the opening chords
for the song, burst out laughing, had a couple more goes (guided by
Gerry) and then kicked into it.
Try To Save Your Song – This got the best crowd response of all the
new material.
Something’s Right – Deb opened up by asking “Is anyone here in a
long-distance relationship?” Al the drummer immediately yelled
back “Yes!”, so Deb responded “Don’t worry, it’s all going to be OK”
and then launched into the song. At the end, she then continued:
Deb: “Actually Al, it shouldn’t be a problem because you’ve got me.”
Al: “Nope, because it’s Thursday.”
Deb: “Oh, so it’s Gerry’s night? Or is it Andy’s?” [Andy blushed at
this point] “They’re all my husbands. The tour is called Yes Dear.”
Al: “And we’re exhausted, and she’s radiant.”
Deb: “That’s what husbands are for!”
Sunday Morning – Went down a treat, though as a result of the above
discussion Deb for once didn’t explain how the Van Morrison line
came into the song.
One More Chance – Deb remarked how she had gotten to know Brisbane
much better — “the paper and wood side, not the mirrored building
side” — when doing Always at QPAC. When she said she hoped Patsy
Cline might have covered the track, the audience laughed. “You
people will laugh at anything, won’t you?” she remarked. (Of course,
the Kransky Sisters could be a factor there).
Sleepwalker – This is probably the song which live performance has
changed the most for me — I like it on the CD, but live it’s just
I Love You But – At the end of Sleepwalker, Deb explained that it
had been written for a friend of theirs who had suffered a horrific
cycling accident and potential major brain damage, and she’d cried
all the time they were composing it. But there’s a happy
ending: “He’s getting married next week, and if I was there, this is
the song I’d play at the wedding”.
It Doesn’t Work That Way – A predictable crowd pleaser (Deb noted it
didn’t work in Adelaide because they don’t have an Ikea there;
she’ll be safe in Perth though).
Here And Now – A solid and rollicking finish.
After the customary clapping and cheering, Deb and Gerry returned to
the stage without the other two. “That’ll make for an odd Alive &
Brilliant,” I thought to myself, and I was right, as the pair of
them launched into . . .
Release Me – a two-guitar acoustic arrangement which came across
really well.
All Of The Above – another surprise inclusion, with the rhythm
section returning. Deborah explained “Since we’re going with the
husbands theme, I thought I’d play something from My Third Husband.”
It’s Only The Beginning – introduced with the “hit after hit after
hit” comment which was used in Sydney for Today I Am A Daisy.
After this, the band left the stage again before returning for the
inevitable finale:
Man Overboard – marvellous as ever, and the crowd joined in rowdily
to shout the title line (which, for some reason, they hadn’t in
OK, that’s probably enough for now, but I won’t make any foolish
predictions about when I next see the show . . .

Clarendon, Katoomba, 28 August 2004

Last night’s gig at the Clarendon in Katoomba was also a blast!
Smaller crowd than the Basement (perhaps 100 people all told) and
probably a little less rowdy, but fabulous to see Deborah & Co in
such an intimate setting. Best crowd reaction (barring the
predictable encores) was probably I Love You But.
Random notable bits:
* Deb’s gag about Sally Robbins only got a muted response, and
after ‘Any Fool’ she commented how people forget quickly about such
news scandals.
* The band learnt that an election had been called from the audience
during the concert. Deb remarked “What, is the governor-general
24/7? Didn’t he have a BBQ or something to go to?”
* Gerry managed to completely mess up the beginning of Sunday
Morning by putting that thing whose name I can never remember across
the guitar strings in the wrong place. The group had to stop and
start again, but first Deb retold the story of how she’d messed up
playing Release Me at the World’s Biggest BBQ (though she didn’t
name the event). Later, she looked at Gerry and commented “I am so
dining out on that”.
* The encore got delayed because Deb had broken a guitar string —
she commented that it’s happened at every gig so far this trip.
* The bass player is Andy Papadopolous, and the drummer is Al
Bartlett (I think — not so sure on that name).
* Compulsory forgotten lyric: for the last verse of Man Overboard,
Deb began singing the third verse (“Come around when I’m asleep”
etc.), but she then segued into the correct version by adding a
couple of bars and I imagine only pathetically obsessed people like
me even noticed!
(who is now going to stop stalking these concerts unless an urgent
need to visit Melbourne again suddenly “comes up”)

The Basement, 26 August 2004

The audience hung on every word, both spoken and sung. DC has a theory that everyone is born with a mistake that keeps recurring in their lives. I’m not sure if she admitted to her’s, but dedicated “Any Fool” to Sally Robbins which I was very impressed by, a sporting reference at a DC show, and we couldn’t believe how close to the mark she was. It was too funny, but unfortunately it sparked a big debate behind us as to who in the boat should have apologised!
I just love “Save Your Song”, it’s one of my faves, and to hear how the line came about was just great.
“Something’s Right” is somehow even more beautiful live than on the
recording and goes straight to number one in my book.
“It doesn’t work that way” drew the best response of the night. People were in tears with laughter, it was great to see.
The Patsy Cline reference drew wide applause from the crowd, and it was fitting that two of DC’s colleagues in the musical, Julie McGregor and Libby Clarke, were there enjoying the gig.
After my good friend complimented them at the bar on their performances in Patsy, we sat down after the show with them for a drink. It was amazing to find out that Julie is the voice for Dawn in Dawn and Barry, the brilliant 2 minute Olympic pisstake on the comedy channel every night. You know, the claymated Sydney 2000 volunteers? Well, it’s a classic so we were quoting lines back to Julie much to her bemusement as I don’t think she’d had any feedback about it yet! Just lovely people.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think they played Heartache. I also didn’t catch the names of the other musicians on stage, appart from Gerry Hale who switched between a large mandolin and a lap guitar looking thing – Tim you might have to help me out on the terminology! That double bass kicked along nicely as did the bloke on drums, it was all good. I’m pretty biased but I did miss Willy. I can’t remember the last time I saw him in concert as he hasn’t been on the last two tours here, or Patsy of course. In saying that, the band worked really well and the mandolin was an awesome melodic accompaniment for every song.
The encores went down well… DC reemerged on stage saying, “Now I’ll play you some new songs I’ve been working on…. only kidding!” and launched into Alive and Brilliant. “This is the golf song…” – It’s Only the Beginning. “Hit after hit after hit!!” – Today I’m a Daisy. And she finished with Man Overbard. That Gerry Hale is a genious to turn a that big mandolin into something so damn funky. It rocked.
DC paid wonderful tribute to Willy as the co-star on the new album. “Willy Zygier. Rhymes with bigger….[to great applause]… and vigour [to laughter]… and he’s a great cook too! I’m very lucky.” Someone in the crowd called out “Where is he tonight?” Perfectly timed she replied meekly “He’s at home, looking after the children,” to cheers from all the mothers in the room. “I’m blushing! I never blush! It must have been the good cooking comment…” The banter with the audience all night was spot on.
I’m hearing Nicky’s voice in my head…”but what was she wearing?”… DC was resplendant in a knee length, long sleeved, floral dress covering black pants. Her hair is shortly cropped around her face, and she just remains ageless.
I’ve blethered enough, keep those reviews coming guys. Big thanks to DC for swinging by Sydney and providing such great songs and support to me and mine.
Our football team’s grandfinal on Saturday (1pm, WH Wagener Oval, Ashbury ; Newtown Breakaways (yay) v Wests (boo), women’s AFL – wear red and white!) has stopped me heading to the Milton, Canberra and Katoomba shows, as well as Newcastle two nights ago.
There hasn’t been such a clutter of shows around here since the “Girls (+1 boy) with Guitars” tour way back when, which DC reminded me of last night.
They’re really looking forward to Milton tonight. Remember that gig, when all the locals took in a bottle of red and a wine glass each? What an absolute hoot. DC was sad she had missed that aspect of the show last time!
She did remember our master guitar class with Willy… how did we talk him into that? Ah, the memories…
Looking forward to more reviews.
Sarah G

The Basement, 26 August 2004

Just got back in from the concert at the Basement to discover
David’s email and the link to all the photos from the list
Summertown party (including one with me looking almost human), so
it’s been a great Deborah evening all around!
Deb and the guys were in stunning form tonight. Taking an apparent
cue from Neil Young, they played the entire Summertown album (save for Heartache) in sequence, and then encored with Alive & Brilliant, It’s Only The
Beginning, Today I Am A Daisy and Man Overboard. Though the familiar
tracks predictably got a good response from the capacity crowd, the
Summertown material also went down really well — particularly
Accidents, Sunday Morning, One More Chance, I Love You But & It
Doesn’t Work That Way. Deb told some of the same stories about the
origins of the tracks as she had at the Summertown events, but also
explained the origins of others (e.g. where the Van Morrison line in
Sunday Morning comes from, how One More Chance is quite deliberately
a Pasty Cline-esque song).
At the Melbourne party, Willy had chided Deborah for forgetting the
lyrics to Try To Save Your Song. That didn’t happen in Sydney, but
she did miss the first half of the most infamous line in Alive &
Brilliant, singing “I [silence] breasts you like”. But as far as the
crowd was concerned, she could do no wrong.
While I’m feeling archival, if memory serves, this was the setlist
for the list Summertown do:
* Accidents Happen In The Home (with crowd singalongs for the male
parts at the end)
* Something’s Right
* Try To Save Your Song (abandoned after Deb forgot the words)
* Stay On Track
* It Doesn’t Work That Way
Can’t wait until Katoomba on Sunday!

House Party – 13 August 2004

I wanted to say a huge thank-you to everyone who bought cd’s to enable the house party to happen. Especially the interstate contingent! And huge thanks to Viv for talking her friends into hosting the evening, and to Peter & Glenda themselves for inviting us in… and to Deborah & Willy for playing.
There hasn’t been a review of the evening posted, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
First, I was late. Not a huge surprise to anyone who knows me. My excuse was football training. At 7:45pm I was running around in the cold rain… ten minutes later I was picking up my girlfriend from the station, and about 10 minutes after that we were standing on the doorstep of a house in Northcote hoping we had the right address.
We were welcomed in by a crew of youngsters, who proceeded to show us their dolls then disappear into a side room. We tracked the party down in the lounge (It was easy to find – I could see Mark). It was fabulous to see people again… Tim, Julie, Mark and Nikki (with gorgeous tot in tow). I’ve probably left people out, but that always happens.
My timing was impeccable of course – just time to get a drink before Deborah and Willy came on stage. Oops, I mean before they moved from the other half of the room, sat down, and encouraged people to move closer. Mark and Tim eagerly sat on the floor at their feet… I think Tim was making sure he saw every note Willy played.
First item was an explanation about how they came to be in the suburban lounge playing for us all… explaining about sales, record companies, etc… and the new strategy of walking into peoples homes and playing.
Um, songlist… I hadn’t heard the album, and don’t have it with me now, so this will be vague.
*Accidents happen in the home.
*The Ikea song – (I saw lots of smiles around the room as people remembered their own DIY experiences. Made me grin because I love putting those things together. No wonder people thing I’m strange!)
*Um… another song that Deborah forgot the first line of… Mark had to prompt her.
Um… guess I don’t know these songs so well yet!
The point is that the songs were great… the crowd was lovely. The lounge ambience was amazing – so intimate!
Anyway, I really only wanted to say what a fabulous night it was… and say thanks to all those who so greatly deserve it.

Lamby’s, Geelong, 13 April 2000

where to start?
For those of you who don’t know Geelong is a city about an hour out of Melbourne. So after work last night Nicky, Julie and I dutifully trundled out there to see DC play at Lamby’s, armed only with a vague geography of Geelong and the name of the street the venue was on. After getting a bit muddled (and ringing Kate) we arrived at the venue which was a bar in a basement of an old wool store.
It was pretty quiet in there, just us and about 40 punters for most of the lead up. We saw Willy, Cameron and Dave wandering around so we figured we were in the right spot. Shortly before the show started Willy was on the stage and bumped his head pretty damn hard on one of the rafters (they were pretty low). We speculated later that this may have been the factor that explained the whole evening.
Once tweety had stopped flying around Willy’s head the band emerged, looking fabulous, Deborah in pink suit mentioned in previous gig reviews. The loose crowd (about 150 people or so) stood back a bit and watched and they launched into Interzone. They were in fine form. I think the might have played Alive and Brilliant next, I know they did at some stage.
Deborah then did a little intro for Radio Loves This, asking if they got radio down there. I think she meant the basement but I few punters thought she meant Geelong (maybe she did) and reacted badly, Geelong people can be like that πŸ™‚
Then they played All of the Above (been a while since I’ve seen that live) with Willy playing an extended solo of the signature riff. It was just ace.
After only a few songs Deborah and Willy started to unplug various things while reassuring Rupert not panic. Deborah then climbed down and pronounced that the sound was awful on the stage. She wandered into the generous space left in front of the stage and invited the crowd to, well, crowd in. She then sang Feathers in My Mouth with just her voice (no amplification) and Willy on the unplugged acoustic guitar. This was just fucking fabulous. I have seen one or two DC shows and heard of a great number more but as far as I know this was a first. I have never heard Deborah sing except through a mic before and it just isn’t something I am going to forget in a hurry.
She then asked what we would like next (not us personally, the crowd, no celebrity status for us). I think Kate and Pez wanted Do You Miss Me When You’re Sober but Deborah choose to play White Roses (which produced an audible moan from all Bitch Listers present). This too was just ace. In the instrumental bit DC grabbed (in a nice way) some punter and waltzed around the dance floor with him. He was quite the gentleman, he didn’t even spill his beer on DC for the whole minute or so of dancing.
During these two songs there were still people talking but Deborah just wandered over in their direction and sang at them and that slowed them down a bit.
Having well and truly captured the crowd they got back up on stage and the whole thing took on a bit of a dance feel. Having had a sleep I can’t remember the songs played but I know that Only the Bones was in there as was I Lay My Head Down on My Pillow and I Cried I Night and Never Far Away with a bit of an island feel to it.
When Deborah reached the end of her set a few songs and much dancing later (although not by me, I am too skippy to dance) she asked if we wanted more. She said the option was to go off and then come back but it was all a bit of a farce and this way a lot of walking was saved.
Then they launched into the much heralded version of It’s Only the Beginning. This was well worth the wait. As someone to who all dance tunes sound like that Blue song (you mean they have more than one dance song???) even I appreciated this wild version of this song. I feel a B side coming on, I wish.
They closed with a spirited version of Man Overboard which is always welcome.
Some bad news for the evening. The Radio Loves This film clip was reshoot at record company request and both Willy and Pez got cut from it. There are plans to nab of copy of the original. More news then it’s available.
And my only question for the night is “but Willy, why can’t I play support???”(in a whingy voice)

Cat & Fiddle. 8 April 2000

A simple miming action of taking a cigarette out of her mouth throwing it down and stubbing it on the floor from DC grabbed the crowd’s attention and a lot of cheers from the audience on Saturday night and wound that pedastal we hold Deborah on up to full height! The offending smoker had no choice but to follow suit.
INTERZONE led the set once more with RADIO LOVES THIS, ALIVE AND BRILLIANT – I think it was here that a string broke so DC broke into a solo version of “Lord, won’t you buy me a mercedes benz” while WZ fixed it… at the conclusion WZ struck up with “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a guitar roadie…” – see, I knew he was dying to add comedy to his on stage role! Then ALL OF THE ABOVE and NEVER FAR AWAY. This show was a love-in to rival the Newcastle show, with everyone in the front row coupled up and not shy to express their love. Su, you mentioned the “swinging” woman at the Friday night show… well there was a real swinger on Sat night who ended up kissing about three different fellas which was DC’s excuse as to why she forgot a few lines during the night! DC was just trying to work out who the woman had arrived with and who she would leave with!
The lads departed the stage for the acoustic section, leaving DC and WZ to play a great version of FEATHERS. Standing collaborating on their next tune, a few calls were coming from the audience – “White Roses”, “String of Pearls”, “Under My Skin”. Deborah all of a sudden turns, faces me, and into the microphone says “Sarah. What do you want to hear.” *SG grins from ear to ear* “Under My Skin please Deborah.”… “Fine choice” And off they went … now you’re under my skin…. whoah…. now you’re under my skin… whoah…… She turned to me for prompting on the first line of the second verse which of course I couldn’t remember but Willy came to the rescue as usual. Lisa J was stoked as she then knew I was actually there at the show and she had a good giggle cos the folk around her apparently started calling out “Good on ya Sarah… good choice Sarah…” etc. And of course I was stoked and didn’t do too well at playing it cool…. “that was for me, that was for me!” Sad… of course afterwards I thought maybe a call for “Dolly!”, or “something by Hormonal Motives…” might have been a laugh but I’m well pleased I didn’t!
The lads hopped back on stage and continued with HERE IN MY ARMS, DAISY, RELEASE ME, LAY MY HEAD, SHE’S COMING FOR IT and GIRL THING. DC beckoned for me to come up on stage and she even had the hand outstretched to help me up when the band struck up for NOVOCAINE so my dream to go on stage with DC (in fact it’s a dream even just to go on stage at the Cat and Fiddle) fizzled before me… thanks lads! That’s what I get for making Billy Oddie references…
A minute or so off stage and the first encore was called for. AND my dream fulfilled – DC dragged me up alongside her introducing me with “This is Sarah – the tasteful person who requested Under My Skin earlier tonight. And she’s wearing this fantastic teeshirt which you can buy after the show” I couldn’t help but ask her to plug the mailing list which was at the bar and I told her to say there was a competition between Sydney and Melbourne* so she said “Please sign up to the mailing list. Apparently there is a competition where you can win a million dollars and I hear the odds are good!”… good enough for me!
Not sure if I imagined it, but I think the volume might have been pumped up for IOTB and it went off, much better than Friday night’s version! Crowd went wild again with everyone singing out with the chorus. A quick report on Willy’s antics during the song – a bit of dancing with arms involved in a disco motion, one or two shirt pulls and some hand clasping in a prayer like fashion… he’s getting there with looking cool without the guitar… please keep us updated (nothing like making him feel totally self conscious… we may not be psycho fans but we’re cruel all the same…) Man Overboard – jeez – you’d think these guys wrote the darn song, they’ve really taken it over – I never heard the DoReMi version live but this is a full band sound now and I’d say it’s going to stick. The lads left DC and WZ on stage to play White Roses and that jazzy improvisation in the solo is just gorgeous… I know I should have led the applause but I don’t think Sydney people really know what to do with jazz… maybe you’ll make up for it in Melbourne.
They all came back on stage to finish off with “It’s Only a Dream” – fantastic way to finish the set – it lulls everyone to sleep then ends with a big dance opportunity. “Sweet dreams” announced DC at the end before sitting down to autograph hoards of cds. Not sure if I appreciated the reference to my eyebrows (! … you’ll know what I mean when you get your cd signed…), but I will keep my signed poster forever… something about being a legend πŸ˜‰
One more observation – if you don’t want to lose hearing for 24 hours, stand on the right of stage in front of Cameron and Edmond – Lisa J told me that it’s better to stand away from the lead guitar in terms of keeping your ears in one piece. Still, you won’t be able to see past the black box on Cameron’s keyboard, or pull faces at Willy so it’s a hard decision.
So once again, DC has swept through NSW and turned our lives up the right way! I say thank you thank you thank you for the opportunity to help out and for the amazing energy and passion you share with all your fans. Congratulations on the massive crowds too, and not one disappointed. :-))))))
Sarah G.

Cat & Fiddle, 7 April 2000

Even before DC had sung a word a couple of drunks had started up “Get your gear off!” to which that bloke in the BORED teeshirt stood up to the microphone and asked who had said that. The fella that looks like Bill Oddie was in fine form but didn’t get to perform Exquisite Stereo which I was disappointed about. The guy with no hair and a five string bass was hidden in the shadows in the back corner of the stage but still managed to pull a few tricks, explaining after the show that his bass percussion in “Here in my Arms” is supposed to wash over you… I hope I didn’t insult him by saying it really stands out and hits you… well I like it anyway….. And the tall dude on keyboards – he rocks – if groovy was a fashionable word I would use it for him. But it’s not. So I won’t. During the few acoustic songs it was cute to see the lads at side of stage punching a few Zs although Bill Oddie was all consumed by every note.
Just trying to think if they did put in another song… did they do “Only the Bones” last night… the shows are already merging together… “Last to Know” was interesting – just the acoustic version and it was sweet – “under my skin” or “holes in the road” or “she prefers fire” or “bag of sweets” would be my choices though but we’ve already had this conversation haven’t we?
Man Overboard had the whole band involved from the first note last night. DC confirmed after the show that the lads hadn’t even heard the song before the Newcastle show so I complimented Bill Oddie on his tribal drumming and the bald guy on his slap bass – you guys in Melbourne have to make sure you get a dose.
No shirt pulling from Willy last night during IOTB… instead he had some admirers at side of stage who sang every word to him and he responded, clutching both hands to his chest which was cute (as he looked over his shoulder to see if DC was looking – lol). With the guitars so so loud in all the other songs it would be great to hear the programmed stuff just as loud during this – it pumped through us in Newcastle but not so much last night. I’m a big fan of the drum kit being included too. Yeah!!!
Oh, Eva Trout up first were fab – I’d never seen them live before and would certainly go back for more… didn’t someone get their album this year as a Kris Kringle? I didn’t really see Simone Hardy but she did a solo acoustic set and certainly sounded sweet and so on the mark.
Great night, many, many, many, many satisfied punters. The crowd was not as uninhibited (drunk…) as those in Newcastle but we had a small mosh pit up the front anyway…. how can you stand still? Even Meeks was dancing by the end πŸ˜‰ (got ya…!)
Sarah G.

Cambridge Tavern, Newcastle. April 6, 2000

What did that girl on the dcbitchlist say last week about Deborah’s voice?? DC proved me a clown tonight by bursting free and LOUD first up with “Interzone” which I’d never heard. No accusations of half heartedness from this side of the room…
“Radio Loves This” kept the throng of Newcasteelians (DC’s term not mine) bouncing to a grinding rhythm having introduced it as the leading single from Exquisite Stereo to be released in May.
A call of “Alive and Brilliant” was answered with “OK” and City of Women launched into the regular version. Well, as regular as it gets these days with the full band and 300 Bitch Epic owners singing along.
“All of the Above” followed and didn’t draw the same level of recognition from the crowd but the groove continued. It seems that alcohol + smoky bar + DC = schmooze. DC announced “What a sexy crowd!” It was only then that I cast my eyes around, not noticing anyone terribly sexy at all but recognising her comment related to the action on the dance floor.
Both “Never Far Away” and “Exquisite Stereo” (was that really Dave singing or a sample of Neil Finn thrown in? Lovely!) had two, then three, then four scantily clad women girating with intent around each other. While Edmond and Cameron were caught up in their parts, DC and WZ seemed amused and intrigued by it all, while it just sent Dave into a fit of giggles every time DC or WZ made eye contact with him.
“Only the Bones” had everyone jumping about and DC encouraged the intimacy to continue by playing “Here in My Arms” – I spotted a few gals leaving their men at the bar and joing the “love in” on the dance floor. One woman announced in the direction of the stage “I’m a heterosexual!” to which Deborah responded “Shame on you woman!! Get back in the closet!!” – it was a funny, funny atmosphere.
Crowd favourite “Today I’m a Daisy” was next, then a birthday dedication to “Susan” who was too shy to wave when asked – she was one of the older crowd seated with her bearded friends who all thoroughly enjoyed “Release Me” which followed.
I didn’t recognise List favourite “Lay My Head” until the final line – guess it wasn’t the tune I expected the Melbourne crew to really get behind. To be honest I don’t really remember the song though, I was too caught up in hysterics at the craziest thing I’ve seen at any concert. One of the very drunk minimally clad dancing girls strode up to her mate who was in a shorter than short tight black dress and proceded to reef the dress above her waist…! Now I’ve heard of women who wear no underwear under dresses… now I’ve seen one! The poor girl died of embarrassment and left, although I’m not sure if too many others saw her naked backside… only those on stage may have seen the front view but Dave didn’t fall off his stool so she may have been saved. Funniest thing I’ve seen in ages… aaaaah Newcastle. I was complaining that we were 24 hours late for the Jelly Wrestling but I needn’t have complained at all.
“Here she comes…” … love it… my favourite, especially Willy’s little fill riff. “Girl Thing” was on the set list but not played, and they finished rather abruptly with “Novocaine”.
OH – the encore… “It’s Only the Beginning” – amazing – can I just say you have to hear it to believe it! If I tried to describe it you would hate the sound of it… let’s just say if this was a double A side with “Exquisite Stereo” or “She’s Coming for it”, it would go through the roof at the clubs – hell, this mix would even make going to Hen’s Nights in the city more than tolerable! Oh, and it was worth it just to see Willy squirm for the first half of the song when he’s not playing his guitar – you thought Mark O’Meara looked awkward without a guitar in hand at the microphone – wait until you see Willy’s shirt pulling antics!
An impromptu version of “Man Overboard” came next thanks to a chorus of requests, with Willy and DC being joined by the other guys as they picked up on the rhythm… awesome. A second encore was called for and DC re-emerged a little overwhelmed by the screaming response! “It’s Only a Dream” to put everyone off to sleep – “This song helps with insanity” she mentioned to a small band at the front who had been heckling all night and who kept calling out “… you look like Geena Davis… you’re soooo sexy!” etc.
OK – the clothes… DC in pink suit with black sleeveless top, no shoes and pink toe nails. She ditched the jacket after a few songs and Willy threw it on in the encore over his lime and turquoise shirt with matching turquoise pants… despite the tight fit it actually was quite a look for the rockstar himself! For the first encore the black top was replaced with the pink merch teeshirt – that shirt is going to look a treat on Pez!!! Personally, I went for the orange but there’s also pink writing on grey and black writing on white for the lads – something for everyone. Yes I have the album now!
A memorable night – all thanks to Marinella, Donna and the security fella at the Cambridge, Lisa J for the company/laughs, and DC/City of Women for being incredible.
As for tonight… let’s do it again!
Sarah G.

Tilley’s – 30 Sept 1999

Now we’re talking. Nicky, Julie and I arrived at the venue at about 8pm and it was pretty much full, the stage was setup and things were going well.

At about half past nine Deborah and Willy strolled onto stage, welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd.
It became immediately apparent that Deborah is quite pregnant (yes, I know you can’t just be a little bit). Both she and Willy were in fine form. Deborah was talkative throughout the show and even recounted a couple of her dreams about Jeff Kennett. More on that later.

The show was broken into two sets. They opened with She’s Coming for It which was terrific. This further fuelled speculation that this will
appear on the new album (there was apparently some doubt about this).
Next they played Madame Butterfly is in Trouble. The rest of the order is a bit hazy but the songs were as follows.

  • Today I am a Daisy
  • Alive and Brilliant
  • Only Girl (nice to hear this one, it’s been a while)
  • Release Me
  • Feathers in My Mouth (also nice to hear, one of my enduring favourites of MTH)
  • Will You Miss Me When You’re Sober (also known as “that song about being drunk all the time”, see Sydney show review when someone writes one)
  • You’ve Come to Earth (which DC says is about having a baby, I’ll take her word for it)
  • Novacaine (bloody terrific stuff, I like this one more every time I hear it)
  • Something about Decisions (description not the title)
  • Happy New Year (they said this one might have an unexpected future, I hope so as it’s a favourite)
  • Bag of Sweets
  • White Roses (yes, someone yelled out for it, they said they’d promised themselves they wouldn’t play it anymore. They did, personally I am a bit over it)
  • String of Pearls (quite close to being over this as well but it’s always
    good to hear it live)

  • It’s Only a Dream
  • It’s Only the Beginning
  • 2001 Ultrasound (the first time I have heard this acoustic. they usually use a backing tape. it sounded terrific, I look forward to hearing this version again)

Now for the Jeff Kennett stories. For those of you who don’t know JK is a regional politician best known for being a fool and staying out of jail.
Deborah said she had a dream that JK took her to the Casino and then flew off with her superman style and told her that the whole city could be hers (I’m probably getting it a bit wrong). Then she woke up screaming.

In the second dream she was playing in Perth and realised that she had forgotten to drop the children off with her mother. As she was repacking her bag Willy turned into Jeff Kennett (now there’s a transformation!) and she started finding all this sexy underwear that he had packed for her and she was getting really turned on by this. Then Felicity (JK’s wife or ex-wife depending on what you read) burst in all angry. Again, she woke up screaming.

Willy wondered aloud if Felicity dreamed that Jeff turned into Willy.
Don’t we all wish?

She blamed these dreams on being pregnant.

All in all a terrific show.


The Dan O’Connell, 25 Feb 1999

I was one amongst a few dedicated (or fanatical) bitchers to attend the final City of Women show (for the moment) at the Dan last night.
In my opinion it was one of the best shows. The sound was good throughout and the band really seemed to have it together.
The playlist was a good one. Most of the regular songs with Happy New Year and Turn thrown in. Glory Ordinary Day was missing, but you can’t have it all heh?
There was a larger crowd then over the last few weeks – maybe the word is spreading. I believe one joker was even doing the rounds of the crowd try to get a few more bitchers on the list. :-)…..
As Cameron said last night, it was a bit sad that we don’t know when how or where we will hear the new songs again. Our offer of a bribe to the soundman for a copy of last weeks recordings was countered by DC who pays his wages. Oh well, we tried!!!
A whisper from Willy may have included something about the new songs being recorded in April for a possible Aug/Sep release. How am I going to wait that long?????? Some of the lyrics are already on high rotation in my head.

The Commercial Hotel, 24 Feb 1999

What wonders a front page of a newspaper will achieve. Clearly we were not the only ones paying attention to DC on the front cover of the Western Times last week, the Commercial was packed for the final night of City of Women there.
The play list was pretty much the standard for these shows with the addition of Freeway something which I think was played at the Empress this week also. I can’t really comment on this new one as it always takes me a few listens to get into things, what did others think?
Rach and I were all ready to call for Turn for an encore but the moment sort of escaped us, damn damn damn. I sneaked a look at the playlist and it was there amoung the final songs they didn’t play.
All in all a terrific show. While the most dramatic improvements to songs seemed to be earlier this month each show seems to be that little bit better. There were only very minor sound problems last night but this was more than compensated by the whole band having a top time.

The Empress of India, 23 Feb 1999

Tuesday night at the Empress seems to have become an overnight institution for the Melbourne Listers.
Last night we had a showing from Meeks, Julie, Cameron, Rach (and her twin in disguise), Matt, Cameron, myself and Nicky.
The playlist was very similar to previous shows with a couple a interesting ups and downs.
The first down was during Come to Earth. When ever Deborah got to the end of the chorus “you come to earth” the whole sound basically did some pretty mental feebback. The first time it happened DC shot a look at their sound guy to fix it, the second time it happened she shot him a look that would have sent me scrambling for the first flight out to South America. Basically this problem fucked up the song which was pretty dissapointing. Come to Earth (possibly you come to earth) has really grown on me in the last month. I know a few other listers are lukewarm about it but I particularly like its hypnotic quality.
On to the next debarcle. As DC treaded away at the effects pedals (held firmly in place by the craftsmanship of Tim) it became clear pretty clearly that the effect was just not working. Worse still Deborah’s voice was not being amplified at all. They messes about with it for a minute or so then just went into the song with Deborah singing the distorted bits herself. this is the second time this had happened and while I am sure it gives DC the screaming heebiejeebies I quite like hearing Deborah sing the weird sounds herself, it sounds a bit raw which I really like.
On to the sucesses of the evening.
Radio Loves this sounded terrific with the riff from Willy back in force.
She’s Coming for it just gets better and better.
So Sweet which is just super catch, I particularly like the vocal backing willy does towards the end of the song.
Interzone I can take or leave but sounded good last night.
I am sure there are others but after a sleep I can’t remember them. I know they didn’t play either Turn of New Years Eve but am at a loss to say the others they did play. damn.
When they finished after about 45 minutes someone called for an encore since it was the last show at the Empress. The band conferred and came back with Pass the Sugar which was just great.
Part 2
OK I’m in an odd mood…well more than normal…so just bare with me ok.
Now…last nights concert was great…I arrived (for only the second time this month) at the Empress…walked casually past DC on the way in and found about 10 people off the list. As I was waiting for a drink Deb came up and whispered “you old enough” while giggling…after mumbling something about only drinking straight coke I sat down to enjoy the show.
There is no way I can remember the play list…all I know is Interzone was up first…pass the sugar? (I don’t even know the names yet) was last and the sound ironically stuffed up the most on Equisite stereo (did I spell any of that right). I really like that Novocaine song…I pretty much like all the new stuff.
Since Rach isn’t here I guess I’ll have to do the ‘hair report’ *realises she has no iea what she’s talking about* uh….*panics* they were all pretty much…the same…yes…they’re all very hairy…the drummer possibly the most. Willy’s hair is…pretty close to non existant…I like it though.
And now the fashion report…*realises she should have given up after the ‘hairy’ thing* um…all I can remember thinking is that Willy’s sandels were pretty cool but Deb’s were better. You want descriptions huh…yes…well they were very…uh…sandl-ish.

The Dan O’Connell, 18 Feb 1999

Quick review of the Dan
To those from interstate… I’m sorry… I’d hate us too if all these gigs were not somewhere I could get to! To those who were at the commercial Wednesday night … we had sound!
Willie’s hair is a number three? Yeah right… try a number one!! (Mark says that he re-cut it after last night).
Just a note for those who play guitar and may be going to work out the chords for the new songs … (those who don’t just ignore this paragraph). ‘So sweet’ has a capo on 2, and ‘She’s coming for it’ has a capo on 3. Nothing worse than getting the chords to a song and finding out that they’re wrong!
Deb wore the standard dress, Willie wore standard garb. (Deb hasn’t shaved her head… Willie almost has) Deb wore boots with the dress, Willie wore Docs (no dress) (sounding a little like ‘Evil Homer’)
Deb played 2 guitars, the standard DC1 Maton (have you seen the road case for that thing??? Bomb proof!!), and a semi-acoustic reminiscent of the blue beast, but with a burnt wood finish. (Also changing guitars meant that at times Deb had more plectrums than she new what to do with)
We got a NEW new song!! (well after a false start we got a new song anyway) We have dubbed it ‘FREEWAY’ for want of a better title (although I’m sure it must have one!). I’m not sure how to explain it… It has some weird guitar (from Willie of course)… sort of distorted clipped sounds that echo…. a pregnant pause in the middle… you’ll have to hear it! I think that after a few listens it’ll be really cool, but at the moment, it’s just another new song (It’s the sort of thing I’ll end up loving I just know it!). I hope they play it again! Crowd applause was restrained… I wanted to jump up and down and cheer, but I controlled myself and just clapped vigorously.
Willie ‘Let fly’ on a few of songs. If that’s what happens when he cuts his hair, I want to see him shave it all off!! – only I don’t want to be in the front row when he does, I just might get hurt! Deb wasn’t overly restrained herself, and both certainly *seemed* to have a good time!
As Mark, Nicky and Julie walked into the distance, Mark was yelling “Write a review…” so Mark… here it is (for better or worse) and yes… I am jealous of your Maton.
I really enjoyed the show… one of the best yet! (Can there seriously be only 3 shows left? I’m suffering withdrawals already!!!)

The Empress of India, 16 Feb 1999

Well, wasn’t last night a gorgeous night.
There were quite a few of us at the Empress – Mark, Nicky, Kristen, Kate & Amanda, Kate, Meeks, Cameron… oh, and me. We were nicely spaced around the room. I was comfortably sprawled on the arm of an armchair… love the atmosphere of the place.
The playlist was –
* Interzone
* So Sweet
* She’s Coming for It
* You Come to Earth
* Exquisite Stereo
* I Lay my Head Down on my Pillow and I Cry all Night
* Novocaine
* Radio Loves This
* Glory Ordinary Day
Those who heard “She’s coming for it” in Canberra or Milton… the words have changed a bit (no more comment about ‘everywhere you look it spells her name’) but it’s still fabulous!!!
“Everybody knows some one like her
It spins you out
She’s coming for it”
Now, in Radio Loves This, as I was watching Deborah’s hands intently to work out exactly what she was playing (I think I worked it out, but wouldn’t want to be quoted on it, ‘cos I’m normally wrong)… anyway, as I was watching intently, I suddenly thought… jewellery… ring… which finger… does that mean?
Yep, there was a flash of gold on Deborah’s left hand ring finger… closer discrete staring revealed that the ring looked vaguely rockish (as much as I could tell from several metres away, on a moving hand, in funny light.)
I checked with Meeks to see if I was imagining things, and was assured that no I wasn’t…
I dashed over to check with Nicky, who had just noticed it, hadn’t noticed it any other show… were we on to the trail of a big secret? Had Valentines day been a big day for our stars?
Okay, it’s possible that, knowing at least two couples who got engaged over the weekend, I was reading more into this than is strictly necessary but…???
Well, afterwards we were debating whether we’d ever find out what the ring meant… no-one was game to ask (you can tell I was on lemonade, otherwise I would have asked straight after the show.) Nicky thought Mark might be able to pry it out of Willy, but he’d probably be sworn to secrecy, so what use was that? Cameron said he’s sure the ring has actually been there for a few weeks…
Well, after all this torturous discussion I decided “what the hell… they probably already think I’m nuts, so no harm in asking.”
Yep, I bit the bullet… walked up to Deborah and, somewhat sheepishly asked about the ring. Something along the lines of “Um, Deborah, I just wanted to ask… um, I couldn’t help but notice the ring, and, um, which finger it was on… and, um, well… I was wondering… um… does it mean?”
You’ve probably noticed that there were a lot of ‘um’s in that sentance… tell you something?
Well, I’ve dragged it out long enough I think… Deborah looked down at her hand, as if not sure what she was wearing… and said “Oh, no… no (laughing) it’s a ring Willy gave me ages ago… I don’t normally wear rings, but a few weeks ago Syd saw the ring and said ‘That’s pretty mummy, put it on’… so…”
So, there’s me sheepishly grinning. “Well, that kind of spoils our speculation… d’oh”
Deborah said something like “You guys don’t miss much, do you?” At which, yes, I grinned sheepishly again.
The ring is gorgeous, even if it’s not the engagement ring we’d been specualting it could be… a ruby, surrounded by about 5 or six pearls in a circular setting on an engraved gold band (I only got a quick look.)
The other notable point in the conversation was Deborah saying that they’d get married when the kids asked them too… but since Syd is obsessed with being a bride at the moment it would be a few years away… at the moment Syd wants to marry Willy! (I replied “Can you blame her?” which earnt me a funny look.)
So, there’s our entertainment from last night… other than the fabulous music (which is, indeed getting better every week.)

The Dan, 11 Feb 1999

Started off with about 30 people in the audience… Deb praised us all for coming out to listen to “good original music”.
Standard run of songs with the standard few mistakes/mix ups (though maybe more of the ballady songs than other gigs)… gee those songs are good… the more I listen to them the better they get (either that or the band are getting better and the songs really are getting better) – even the one with the distorted vocals… I think Deb loves that one… she really gets into it – slinking and grooving along (no guitar helps as well). I think maybe D and W were having fun too… lots of wry smiles.
Crowd were a little quiet to begin with, but as they got into it and more people arrived (ended up with maybe 50-60 people), they began to liven up. At one point Deb said “…that’s more like it…” at the end of a song and much applause (from me anyway… I always seemed to be the last one clapping). The crowd was funny actually… waiting until the last sound of any sample had completely finished until the applause started. The gig finished with radio loves this… bugger radio loving it – I love it!
FASHION REPORT: Deb was wearing dress as usual (approx 15 cm alternating bands of blue, yellow and red. Dusty colours, a knit of some type… I don’t think it’s cut on the bias, but the stripes are at approx 45 degrees) NOTE: this is all from a male perspective… Willy wore blue jeans and a pull over collared shirt with alternating black and white vertical stripes (approx. 5 mm) with maybe 3 buttons. The rest of the band wore… stuff.
Gigs just keep getting better and better…
Cameron Grant

The Commercial, 10 Feb 1999

I’m not going to review last night’s show, except to say that it was really, really good.
There were 2 highlights for me:
First, the 3 yobbos standing midway along the bar. These guys started off the evening doing their best to talk as loudly as possible over the music.
As the set wore on, though, their conversation ground to a halt as they began to pay more and more attention to DC. However, from the look on at least one of them’s face, I’m not sure the music was initially the main attraction. By the end they were totally won over. Towards the end DC said that she hoped the audience didn’t mind listening to the new stuff, rather than the songs they’re familiar with. One of the yobbos shouted that it was cool, DC replied that actually it was rather warm in the pub. A nice moment.
The other highlight was couple I will call Mr & Mrs Average. I recognised these people from the Dan last week, which pleased me since I thought we listers were the only groupies following City of Women around – aside from a couple of girls who I think might be girlfriends of guys in the band.
These two were having an absolute ball. They sat at a table and bopped along with every song, even getting into a bit of head banging during ‘I laid my head down on my pillow and I cried all night’ (yes, that is the song title)
It was a pleasure to see other people who obviously enjoy DC’s music as much as we do. Which bring me to the few lyrics I can remember: they come from ‘I laid my head down …’
This is one of the verses I think. I may not have it completely right because the song is very fast.
Here goes:
I’m trying out different food
I’m trying a different bus stop
I’m trying out different food
I’m trying a complete mind-swap
There is also a bit that goes, ‘I’m enjoying exotic ..’ something, has a couple of other lines and ends with ‘I’m enjoying being single’, but Julie paid more attention to that bit than I did.
Nicky Pelletier

The Empress of India, 9 Feb 1999

The Empress is a rather studentish pub in Fitzroy. Shabby and mostly brown with dirty tables, but good food and, tonight, very good music. It was also the sight of a veritable bitchfest. The list was out in force and then some.
Mark & I, the recently departed Matt and a friend, Kate & Amanda, the other Kate and a friend (sorry I didn’t say hello), Kristen with Mark’s sister Rad and Rad’s housemate Perri, Cameron, Julie, Rach, Bryan (our favourite Young Australian, fresh from Bert), Tanya, Fran and a friend were all there. Apologies to anyone I missed, but it was a bit overwhelming. I don’t think I’ve seen that many bitch listers and friends anywhere before.
The music as usual was fantastic. The set opened with Interzone, followed by some songs I loved but don’t know and couldn’t guess the names of. Here she comes and Radio Loves This were played along with Exquisite Stereo and Julie’s favourite, Happy New Year. I am now eagerly awaiting the next album so I can learn the lyrics to all of these great new ones. It was a short set – only 45 minutes – but a well spent three quarters of an hour indeed.
I realise this is a really lame review but, take my word for it, it was a very good gig. DC went off, WZ went off, and it was a joy to watch.
When Rach climbs out from under the mountain of work currently keeping her quiet on the list, I’m sure she’ll tell you about DC’s dress which we both covet. I’m not sure I could do it justice. Very simple, but very nice. Where does she shop?
Nicky Pelletier

The Dan, 4 Feb 1999

The first City of Women gig at the Dan O’Connell was very quiet from the crowd side and nice and noisy from the stage side.
While the Dan has a reputation for overcrowding this hot Thursday saw only sixty or seventy people out to see and hear City of Women. Another feature of the Dan seems to be pretty basic sound. While the last actual Deborah Conway show there was marked by particularly awful sound the City of Women were much easier to hear. Deborah’s vocals sometimes were drowned out by the rest of the band but then City of Women is not just a backing band for DC so I figure this is no catastrophe.
I only recognised a few of the songs. They opened with Interzone which has a much fuller, more aggressive sound, with the band. Actually this is true for everything they played. The difference between just DC and Willy and some backing tapes and City of Women is like day and night. Frankly Interzone doesn’t grab me a heap. It sounds a little like a Bond theme at times but didn’t last night.
Radio Loves This was full on and really good. For the guitar players reading this they were playing different chords further down the fret board and playing really really fast so it was hard to tell what the strumming was. Willy was playing a recurring melody across it that sounded to me a little like a snippet from Day Tripper. All of this came together to make a great sound and DC’s voice came through loud and clear.
She’s Coming For It also came up really well with City of Women. It didn’t sound quite like the pop ballad that it has so far but this is no bad thing either. Most of the other songs were ones I had either not heard before or I didn’t remember especially clearly.
There was one song where DC’s voice was put through some effects and sounded weird but it really grows on you after only a short time. Other songs sounded like they would have been right at home on My Third Husband, one especially (sorry, don’t know what it was called) reminded me of Bag of Sweets.
Other songs sound like nothing else on any DC album. Strong, almost floating, vocals and weird tempo and sounds in the backing. I look forward to hearing more of these.
The evening was plagued by minor sound problems of hissing and static and stuff like that but from where I was sitting it got lost in the general wash of sampling and effects so i wasn’t bothered. Events stopped briefly while they address some major problem in which DC tried to get the audience to chant the name of the bass player (Edmond Ammendola).
All in all a good show. well worth getting along to these, I’ll be at the Empress on Tuesday for sure.
Mark O’Meara

The Commercial Hotel, 3 Feb 1999

I was one of the thirty or so strong crowd to see the first performance of the City of Women and some of the songs which hopeful will grace DC No 4.
There were about ten songs in all played. City Of Women is made up of DC, WZ (dressed by his dad), Cameron Reynolds (keyboards/sampling), David Williams (the drummer), and Edmond Ammendola (bass player) – hope I’ve got them right.
They started off with Interzone- the band version is good. Others that I knew were She’s Coming For It, You’ve Come To Earth and Radio Loves This. RLT has been reworked a bit and really rocks. Willy picks and Deb strums and it sounds great with bass etc. It should be recorded just as it was played last night.
Can’t remember too many titles of new songs, but Happy New Year sounds like a sad and melancholic end to IOTB – a beautiful DC tune that would be a fantastic acoustic number. The last song and definitely my favourite of the night – more of a SOP/BE feel.
Exquisite Stereo started with DC vocals being distorted thru microphone (bit like Neil Finn on TWT – Twisty Bass?) and was very catchy.
Most of the new songs have more of an Ultrasound/M3H feel, with samples leading into a couple of songs and sampling backing tracks used throughout. I cannot wait for the new album.
I wasn’t going to, but I’ll be off to the Dan tonight to have another dose and hopefully hear some other newies…
Julie Anderson

Kids Benefit, Prince of Wales, 8 Dec 1998

Wednesday the 9th of December at the Price of Wales turned out not to be the home of a big crowd for the Kids Benefit gig.
After sitting through 10 minutes of one of the other bands (who were awful) Deborah and Willy appeared and quietly set up their stuff. Bitch Listers present were Amanda, Kate, Rach, Julie, Nicky and myself (or is that I?).
They opened with Interzone. I may just be a heathen but this number is not really growing on me much but there you have it. This was followed by She’s Coming for It. My impresssion, again from a position of almost total ignorance, was that they played this one at a faster tempo (no idea if this is the correct term) than normal. I really like She’s Coming for It so was pretty happy with this.
This was followed by the ever catchy Radio Loves This. Listening and watching I was pleased to see that I have the basic strumming of this one down more or less (thanks to Willy for taking me through this in minute detail and to Tim for coaching me out of all the wrong ways to interpret the notes I made from Willy’s instruction). While they were playing RLT Willy was doing weird guitar distortion type noises which I could not decide if I liked or really annoyed me. Happily I worked out that I did like the sound of it (just full of fucking opinions tonight, aren’t I?)
Second last (not completely sure about the ordering generally now it comes down to it) they played Bag of Sweets.
Deborah then announced that they had time for one more song as they were running early. She asked the crowd (for want of a better word) and some fellow yelled out “two songs, two more songs” which was warmly recieved by the audience.
Apparantly at the request of the sound guy (DC asked him if he had paid to get in, one of those things you had to be there to follow) they finished with String of Pearls which is always welcome.
At the end of that they bid us good night and disappeared into the ether which is fair enough really.
Mark O’Meara

The Zoo, Brisbane, 29 May 1998

I saw her last night in Brisbane, at The Zoo in Fortitude Valley, and she was as amazing as ever! I was going to write when i got back from the show, but thanks to our ever so reliable public transport system [*coughcough*], that wasn’t until like 3am… I was impressed [not]. This aside however, the night was without a doubt in my mind worth it! Hell, like it ever isn’t with deb!
I was able to get a good position up near the front, so i had a clear view of both deb and willy, which was great as i am only five feet two! :o) they didn’t come on until around 11pm, but they’re always worth enduring two hours of limited oxygen and everybody else’s cigarette smoke for [though i do hate that smoke… !]. she was great, as ever. and oddly enough, queensland was again the last stop on her tour. last time i saw her, last year, it was her last show too, though that time she played the zoo, and then the doghouse on the gold coast. anyhow, get to the point heidi! as i say, she was wonderful! she came out, and they launched into “alive and brilliant” [which was, ‘scuse the pun, brilliant! *eek*]. after that, she was fiddling with the halter neck on her dress, and she was so amusing in her self consciousness — she was speaking about how last time she’d played here she was about to give birth [“i had a girl. alma, for the suffragette, and then del ray — in case she wants to be a stripper!”], and this time “you’ll have to pardon me. i’m lactating, and tonight i’m being strangled by my unreasonably large breasts!”. just the way she said it was hilarious. her on-stage banter all night was really amusing… just what i needed to cheer me up.
She was wearing the now infamous funky patterned dress, sort of a paisley psychadelic patterned fabric, and willy had his matching pants on. very nice indeed, those. they looked so cute, little matching outfits. the set-list was grand — if she’d done “will you miss me when your sober?” and “she prefers fire” it would have been just my *dream* deborah set-list, i tell you! they did [not in order… i’m too dense to remember that!]: “alive and brilliant”, “today i am a daisy”, “madame butterfly is in trouble” [i *love* this song! and in all the times i’ve seen her, she’s never done it live!], “dcn #348” [someone yelled out for this during the encore, and she hadn’t played it in so long, she kept muddling herself up. it was sweet], “release me” [this was a powerhouse…], “under my skin”, “it’s only the beginning” [this was really cute — the crowd sang practically the entire song, with deb coming in on choruses. she was so touched and amused by the fact that everyone started singing. it was a nice moment], “all of the above” [her prelude to this cracked me up. i’ll never forget it! :o) “i wrote this when i was in london, and i’d just heard john howard had gotten into government, and i was really depressed. i’m not depressed anymore though because somehow i’ve got the feeling that his days are numbered”], “2001 ultrasound” [willy’s electric guitar effects on this were awesome!], “only the bones [will show]” [i love this song, and it is really good live!], “here in my arms” [“this is my version of the 60s song, for the 90s – if you can’t be with the one you love, fuck the one you’re with!”] and ended their initial set with a fabulous “man overboard”.
At this point, she went off, and came back for the encore wearing the my third husband tee, she was explaining it: “can you see what i’m wearing now? apart from my abnormally huge breasts, of course! see, three husbands, but only one bride. you gotta wonder what happened to the first two, hey?”. then for the encore, someone yelled out for “dcn #348” and she got all flustered, saying she hadn’t played it in ages, but would give it a go. it was great — not surprisingly! – but she lost her place a few times because these people kept yelling out: “happy birthday deborah!”. sweet, but it wasn’t even her birthday! so, pretty annoying after the first, ooohhh, five times! :o) she kept getting annoyed at them for talking, and she was like: “people up the back chatting. are you talking for a reason? trying out new chat-up lines? not having any success? trying to get somebody home tonight?! it won’t work… just listen instead”. she was being good natured about it, but the way they kept yelling out happy birthday *was* stupid — especially after she thanked them, but told them it wasn’t her birthday. then everyone was shouting out for “white roses” or “string of pearls”, so she gave us a choice. but everyone yelled equally loudly for both — so she asked willy which he’d prefer and they launched into “string of pearls”. *amazing*. her voice was so strong and it just soared… great.
The only thing that kinda ruined it was this IDIOT standing next to me. the entire night, the guy just had NO idea of personal space. it was like, i’d move over a tiny bit so he wouldn’t be shoving into me. but everytime i moved, he moved! it was like: “hello?!”. and then he felt compelled to sing. it was okay during “it’s only the beginning”. everyone was singing. but during SOP and WR, two incredibly slow, poignant songs, there’s this twit in a business suit yelling out as deb’s singing slowly and soulfully. it was like: “SHUT UP!!!”. unfortunately i’m not one of those people who can actually *say* what she is thinking. ick. anyhow… this aside, SOP was beautiful, as ever. and *then* just as we thought they’d go off, they started in on WR! i was so happy! :o) it was a much different version to the record version — very slow, and smouldering — bluesy jazzy feel to it. it was great!
so… overall? the show was amazing. i had a wonderful time. and afterward, i got to meet her! she came out to sell t-shirts [i wanted a blue one, but just like last time, they didn’t have any small sizes left! *sigh*] and cd’s, and i chatted to her a little, and asked for an autograph. i got it on a bit of paper out of my “wallace and gromit” diary! talk about embarrassing, but it was all i had with me!. i was *so* almost going to bring my booklet from “string of pearls” [my fave deb CD], but then i thought no way, because the zoo’s a big venue, and i figured my chances of meeting her were non existent. d’oh! but she did sign the page for me, she thought the W&G diary was really cute. i made a total geek of myself originally, i was like: “i do have your cds, but not here, i’m really sorry but could you please sign this?”. talk about wanting to sink into the floorboards! :o) but she was really nice, she signed the autograph: “heidi – it’s a girl thing! always, deborah conway” so that was lovely. she looked gorgeous, and the show was amazing… i had a ball! :o)

Tilley’s – 23 May 1998

Does Willy Zygier ever have a bad guitar day? If so I am yet to see it and I have seen one or two of the Deborah and Willy shows.
From start to finish this was an exceptional show. The venue, Tilley’s, is a welcome warm and personal place in the city of roundabouts. Our first impressions of Canberra were washed away but this tremendous cafe/club. We were lucky enough to get seats right at the front and met up with Bitch Listers Sarah and Jonny.
The play list was virtually identical to the Melbourne shows a week earlier but the atmosphere and fact that Deborah and Willy seemed to be having a top time made this show Must-See-DC.
For the encore someone requested a Frank Sinatra tribute so Deborah sung Under My Skin (not her version) with Willy piecing together the guitar as they went along. Some wags even suggested he broke into a sweat with the concentration.
The highlight of the show was when DC played Consider This after Rachael (from the Bitch List) requested it. She said she’d play it but that Rachael would have to prompt her for some of the lyrics. Sure enough DC stopped at least 3 times during the song to get the next lyric from Rach who was screaming them up at the stage. It was a hilarious episode that got the whole place howling with laughter.
All things considered, well worth driving from Melbourne, one of the best DC shows I have ever seen.

Tilley’s – 23 May 1998

What a relief!!! After all of my boasting about Tilley’s and the success that Deborah and Willy enjoy there – it all came together into a package of perfection for the Bitch Listers who had driven all the way from Melbourne for the gig. And what a night!! Dinner was pricey but delicious and kept us sustained until the 9:30pm start time.
With Rupert back at the helm, things ran smoothly, although the recent extensions had Deborah searching for the sound booth in the crowd, unlike previous concerts when artists could make easy eye contact with their sound engineers. Still, the extensions gave the patrons more elbow room, a better chance of buying tickets, and an enhanced sound which Deborah and Willy took full advantage of.
Deborah admitted that she would have to be more spontaneous than usual – “There are a few people here who have seen a few shows already and are getting sick of my jokes.” But none of us had heard the bagging of Kylie and Danni (“Oh, I’m sorry if I’ve offended any Danni fans out there – from the heart of my bottom I’m so sorry!”), or the story about Deborah’s great aunt who moved to Perth at age 92 and said “It’s not the greatest…” “…but it’s not as if I’m going to be living here all my life!”
A quick revelation from a front row groupie – we’ve been over the topic of Willy’s chair dancing… and we’ve all noticed that he now stands during concerts!! The new revelation is that when he performs his guitar solos, he lets out this strained whine that keeps the chord going and joins one riff to the next. Probably one of those concentration traits that one isn’t conscious of, we even thought at first that it might be feedback from the guitar but it was certainly audible. Have a listen next time you can!
While DC and WZ may not have enjoyed the Bitch List’s front row position for the majority of the concert, it was during the encore that appreciation took on a whole new meaning for me. Rach requested her favourite, “Consider This”…. after the usual umming and aahing, (“just because you guys drove all the way from Melbourne for this!”) they agreed, adding “You will be able to help me if I don’t know the words won’t you???” You won’t believe this unless you were there (you will believe it after reading 5 reviews describing the same incident!) but Deborah did not remember the first line of ANY verse, or the first line of the bridge either. Rach came through with flying colours with Mark and I trying to pitch in when things got tough – (THE LIGHTS ARE ON BUT NO-ONE’S HOME was not heard clearly, so there we were, pointing at the spot lights… THE… LIGHTS… ARE…ON…. “Oh yeah… the light’s are on but no-one’s home that I see”) It was just incredible – the crowd was in hysterics, knowing that they were enjoying a very rare moment. Deborah loved it too, especially when we couldn’t remember the last verse either so she just rhymed along to herself
– “I don’t remember the words… to this verse.”
“So we’ll just sing along until we reach… the chorus.” etc.
We had fun singing along in full voice after being quiet for the rest of the gig…. and what a great gig – I’d have to say that the only time I sit with a grin from ear to ear for two hours straight is a DC gig… and tonight’s smile was bigger than ever.
Sarah Groube

Tilley’s – 23 May 1998

Tilleys is a great venue… in spite of the chairs outside making it look like the coffee shop from Neighbours! We arrived just in time to catch the last few notes of the sound check… and have a quick word to Deb and Willie.
We grabbed a table, and awaited the arrival of the Canberra bitches. Sarah arrived first, with friends in tow, and promptly set off to ask Deborah if she was joining us for dinner. Unfortunately the demands of mum-hood came first, and Syd was determined to get back to the hotel. The food was nice, but pricey, the company great… Jonny arrived last, after an arduous day arresting villains.
Then came the show. Our table was dead centre, up against the stage. Deborah started off by saying she’d have to be a bit more spontaneous in her jokes… since there were some people who’d seen too many shows and knew the jokes too well. Sort of gave the whole thing a bit of a feeling like it was our own private show!
She did a fairly standard play list… there were a few great moments. Like the idiotic guy who made a rude remark about underarm shaving… DC’s come-back, “I think that’s enough audience participation.” Later, when she was talking about the Third Husband thing, there was a woman who kept yelling out “If you’ve been through 3 hubbies, you should try a woman!” Continuously… at every opportunity… do you think it was a pick up line?
But the highlight of the show was the requests. First there was a loud call for a Frank Sinatra tribute… so “I’ve got you under my skin” soared round the venue. Willie did a fabulous job of making up the chords… Deborah made up sections of the words… brilliant.
Then I yelled out my current favourite song… Consider This. Deborah looked a bit startled, then turned to Willie with a questioning look. He shrugged, then had a bit of a fiddle with his guitar. Deborah asked the audience if they wanted Consider This, then when the reply was yes, asked Sarah and I if we knew the words… would we prompt her because she hadn’t sung it for ages! It was hilarious!!! Every second line we’d have to yell out the start, after the first chorus she stopped and leaned down to find out how the second started… second chorus, and she was asking if there was a bridge in the song… by the second line of the third verse, she gave up and sang whatever words came to her head… the song ended to resounding applause and laughter…. and I was so thrilled that I can’t remember what was played next… oh, yes, “Feathers in my Mouth.”
Rachael Brick

Dan O’Connell, 17 June 1998

The phrase that springs to mind after the Deborah Conway performance at the Dan is “what a blast!”
The first surprise in store was a confident and skilled performance on vocals and guitar from Sally Dastey (Tiddas). Despite a confession to being a bit nervous, Sally’s infectious smile and easygoing manner injected a good feeling into the place. I’ll certainly be adding her on my “must see” list of local performers.
After what seemed like an hour, with the room temperature rising to what felt like about 30 degrees, Deborah, Willy and band finally made their way up on stage. The icebreaker for the evening was “Evil Homer” (first time I’dever heard it), after which Deborah suggested that the performance would consist of her lesser known songs. I vaguely remember her saying that it was going to be an “unfriendly gig” (but I could be mistaken). The other band members were Peter Farnan on guitars and keyboards, with Bill McDonald on bass.
As it’s been suggested that I verge on the obsessive about guitars and playing etc, I’ll venture into unchartered waters and say that it was a predominantly brown evening as far as clothing was concerned. Willy provided a bright splash of colour in a pair of bright orange pants and blue-patterned white shirt (now that’s my kind of colour coordination).
Now for the obsessive bit. Considering I spent the whole show hemmed in under one of the PA speakers I don’t feel I can make an objective opinion about the sound, but it seemed a bit muddy in my estimation.
Willy’s exceptional playing on a lovely old Epiphone semi-acoustic (Riviera?) through an equally lovely Fender Vibrolux Reverb (the guitar amplifier of champions) was frequently barely audible amongst the rest of the sound. Despite this, what I did manage to hear did not disappoint.
What I didn’t hear from Willy was augmented by some really great guitar playing by Peter Farnan on a Fender Telecaster and an absolutely delectable sounding Rickenbacker electric 12 string. Amongst the “Rickenbacker highlights” for me were “Madame Butterfly” and “Release Me”. Peter’s keyboard playing was minimalist but very effectively added colour to the songs. Mind you, how anyone can play in a suit under such sweltering conditions is beyond me.
Bill McDonald provided some solid and innovative bass playing during the evening and I particularly enjoyed the sounds he got using effects pedals. Personally I think real bass players and drummers sound so much better than backing tapes, plus they smile a lot more.
Due to the fact that they’d only had one reheasal that afternoon (and possibly sore fingers as a result), the playing during the performance was ever so slightly loose. I didn’t think that backing tapes in addition to extra musicians worked all that well (apparently they couldn’t get a real drummer for the gig).
Nevertheless, Deborah and co easily made up this shorfall with infectious on-stage camaraderie, some hitherto unheard of songs, comical banter and an all-round fun performance. My endorphin levels didn’t subside until well into Sunday.
Memorable DC quotes were (to the best of my memory:
“I’m wearing my guitar strap a little lower this evening. It’s always nice to do things a bit differently.”
(in between songs) “Are you tuning up Willy? You’re so old fashioned”
(after finishing “Interzone”) “I guess that marks the beginning of divorce procedings against My Third Husband.”
Tim Hackett

Dan O’Connell, 17 June 1998

Deborah and Willy were joined on stage by Bill McDonald (Ultrasound, Frente) and Pete Farnan (Boom Crash Opera) at the Dan O’Connell. This show also marked the biggest ever Bitch List gathering with roughly one in three Bitch Listers there for this show.
The show started with a bang with the rarely heard Evil Homer, followed by fan favourite Madame Butterfly. From my Third Husband they also played All of the Above, Only the Bones, Here in My Arms, Under My Skin, 2001 Ultrasound, and of course, It’s A Girl Thing.
From Bitch Epic they played I’m not Satisfied and, what I though came across as the best song in the show, One More Time. Another treat for this performance was the new songs Radio Loves This (fantastic title, catchy tune) and Interzone (which as also played in the Australia Day show in the Fitzroy gardens).
The encoure was old time crowd pleasers Release Me and It’s Only the Beginning.
Overall it was a great show provided you stood up the front. People up the back complained that everything they heard was muffled and confused. This probably accounted for substantial crowd indifference through most of the show. Even up the front it had it’s moments of being fairly fuddled. Also a dissapointment is the hostility the Dan’s staff on the door show to patrons, they could not make it clearer that they want people to stay the fuck home.
On the bright side DC and WZ had a great time and if you were in the right spot the show rocked.
Mark O’Meara

Continental Cafe, 16 May 1998

WOW!! Tonight’s show would have to be the best I’ve ever seen. Deborah was dynamic, energetic and gorgeous but Willy went close to stealing the show with his incredible musicianship.
Tonight’s play-list was identical to last night, apart from the encores – tonight we enjoyed “It’s Only a Dream” (unrehearsed but stunning when they found their feet) and “String of Pearls”. Unfortunately “Under My Skin” wasn’t as special as last night, as the backing mix was way to loud – not only could people hear that it was, you could feel the bass reverberating through your own diaphragm!! The sound man was sternly warned by DC and perfection again reigned supreme.
Once again, “Girl Thing” and “Man Overboard” went down a treat, as did “Release Me” and “Only the Bones”. “All of the Above” allowed Willy to show off his magnificent skills and gave Deborah yet another one-liner… “I remember why I was so depressed when I wrote that….. John Howard had just got in!!”
Deborah was unable to get changed before the encore, some lunatic thought the idea of setting the fire extinguisher off in the change-room just prior to the break would be a good idea. Willy and DC were forced back onto the stage by the fumes and no doubt left with massive dry cleaning bills after their clothes were covered with specks of white stuff.
While Deborah waited for Willy to sort out the change room debacle, she told her favourite joke “Why do Jewish women only like circumcised penises? Because they won’t accept anything unless it’s 20% off!”
Despite this bizarre mishap, my memories of the Continental will be of an intimate, well laid out venue with terrific sound, effective lighting show, an excellent atmosphere and a charming audience. I was most impressed. To attend a concert with 6 other bitch listers, and meeting Deborah’s mother, as well as more photos with the fab two were other delights.
Bring on Canberra/Sydney!!
Sarah Groube

Dan O’Connell, 15 May 1998

At the end of a 17 hour day, a 750km plane ride, with a belly full of Qantas stew, feet screaming to be let out of the shoes bought that afternoon, squeezed into a smoky, hot pub with hundreds of drunk bods, what could possibly be the perfect remedy?!?
Of course the answer is obvious!!!!
Clad in astonishing matching outfits – well Deborah’s was a figure hugging dress and Willy’s were tight, tight stovepipes – both patterned with every colour of the rainbow, the duo burst into full voice with “Alive and Brilliant”. DC dedicated this song and the remainder of the show to old Bule Eyes “Yes, he passed away today…. Oh!! I’m sorry if I’m the one having to break this to you!!!”
A reworked version of “Under My Skin” was the highlight for me – being an older tune, it kept the motley crew’s attention, but it also encompassed the style and mood of “My Third Husband”.
“Girl Thing” was definitely the crowd favourite, and had been mixed to sound more crisp and clear that the last tour.
Deborah continued her spiel about Girl Things with “You know – dresses, bras, breasts” as she raised her arms above her head. Mr Motley yelled out – “and armpits!!” With perfect timing and aplomb, to the delight of the crowd, Deborah responded “Well, we ALL have those!!” followed by “Behind every great man is a surprised woman,” which was particularly enjoyed by the six bitch listers present – definitely the largest gathering to date. Mr Motley (complete with a Rambo head band, open shirt, long hair, moustache and stubble) had the last say of the concert as Deborah and Willy exited the stage “GREAT GUITARIN’ MAN!! GREAT GUITARIN’ MAN!!” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
“Man Overboard” and “Gold Finger” (an encore) were brilliant and tonight’s “Release Me” was one of the best renditions I’ve ever heard – absolutely perfect. Deborah changed into jeans and an MTH tee-shirt for the encore, persuading me that the shirts DO look good on, and that it’s not daggy to wear undies with little satin bows at the front!!
We mused after the show that we would have liked more songs from MTH to have been played… notable omissions were “It’s Only a Dream”, “Feathers in my Mouth”. …. then again, wouldn’t our dream play-list cover each song of every album?!?
If you missed the Dan, the Continental show is a must see.
Sarah Groube

Fly By Night, Perth, 10 May 1998

Just a quick note to let everyone know that DC is in FINE form!! I went to see her show last night at the Fly By Night Musicians Club in Fremantle and she SIZZLED!
I cant remember the exact play list but she did play the following songs (and probably some others that i don’t recall!)
* Alive and Brilliant
* White Roses
* Buried Treasure
* Only The Bones (Will Show)
* Here In My Arms
* 2001 Ultrasound
* Its a girl thing
* Bag of Sweets
* Today I Am A Daisy
* Madame Butterfly Is In Trouble
* Man Overboard
…and…like i said…a whole heap more that i cant remember!!
DC forgot the words to Buried Treasure about 3/4 of the way through the song, and after abusing the wrong person in the crowd for suggesting she sing it (jovially of course) someone called out the next line of the song and DC took off from where she left. Needless to say this moment of the show was extremely funny for everyone that was there…including Deborah!!!
Saturday night she played a pub gig at the Scarborough beach hotel, she said “doing a show there was like doing a show at the naughty school……in the naughtiest room of the naughtiest school!”
It was the best gig ive been to so far this year…and…possibly the best gig I will go to!

Swinburne Uni, 22 April 1998

Deborah Conway’s performance in Atrium at Swinburne at Lilydale (SAL) was, to say the least, a mind blowing experience. I came away with the impression that she’s a consummate vocalist, a competent guitar player, and a performer of undeniable presence. Although to the uninitiated, the crowd size and response might have seemed a bit lacklustre, DC’s concert stood head & shoulders above the many performances held at SAL since its opening in 1997.
Equipped only with vague (but good) memories of a couple of DC’s hit singles, I took a seat in the “front row” of the atrium. Deborah and Willy then gave the crowd an exquisite lunchtime treat consisting of an “Alive & Brilliant/Man Overboard” sandwich, filled delectably with (amongst others)…
* It’s a Girl Thing
* Under My Skin
* All of the Above
* Only the Bones
* 2001 Ultrasound
* Here in My Arms
* Feathers in My Mouth
A daytime campus performance is a bit like having entertainers perform in your own lounge room. You seem to get a bit more of the people, and less of the media image you normally associate with them. DC (and Willy) ambled up on stage without any fanfare and, after complimenting the free pumpkin soup on offer, got right into their first song. “Alive and Brilliant”, was a great song to reconnect those of us who only had distant memories of DC’s past work.
No doubt adjusting to the culture shock of SAL’s “aircraft hangar” acoustics, DC suggested “It feels like someone’s sucking your brain out through your ears.” Throughour Deborah puncuated the music with numerous comments on pregnancy, lactating, etc – demonstrating an amazing and unconventional turn of metaphor.
Quite a few of the MTH songs were done using sequenced backing music, featuring beats and sounds quite unlike anything I’ve become used to hearing. It was as if DC & Willy had taken the time to choose or construct the sounds they were using, rather than simply going with the default settings of the computer. The effect was quite electrifying, and I was in awe of their skill at maintaining such complex rhythms in an environment with more echoes than you could poke a stick at. (After all, if you lose your place with a backing track, “the band” doesn’t wait for you to catch up.)
Speaking as an erstwhile guitar player, Willy impressed me with his minimalist and rather unorthodox approach. It’s not often I’ve come across such an accomplished guitar player who doesn’t play through a conventional amplifier, doesn’t use an expensive brand name or bouquet guitar, and plays finger style to such great effect. Although he remained seated for most of the concert, Willy’s feet did a veritable tap dance on his effects unit pedals. His use of effects however wasn’t “in your face” and added a heap of texture to the songs. Although the over all volume of the concert was quite low, he somehow managed to make some really big guitar sounds with a minimal amount of fuss. His smile and lack of “bump & grind” made the whole process look exceptionally easy. I’m in awe of his ability to extract such a colourful combination of sounds in each song to make up for the overall lack of other instruments.
Deborah is no slouch when it comes to guitar playing. Although she sticks mainly to chords and rhythm, but she’s got a great chord vocabulary, impeccable timing and a confidence that matches that of her singing. As to her singing, I’m really impressed the way DC uses every bit of her amazing vocal ability. Her use of screaming and talking during her songs adds a dimension rarely, if ever heard in mainstream music. I normally judge a performer on their ability to sound as good in a concert as they do in the studio. DC was nothing less than impressive in this regard, and her distinct way of working the audience was a delight to behold. The acoustics at SAL did very little to detract from my enjoyment.
The highlight song for me was probably “Here in My Arms”. Although I hadn’t heard it before, it provided me with a heavy case of goosebumps and a bit of a trance state – in my book, that’s what good music’s all about. DC and Willy made good their finish with the flamboyant funk-style acoustic rendition of “Man Overboard”; I hadn’t realised it was a DC song. I then dawned on me that I’ve been enjoying Deborah’s music for quite a while.
I think I’d be right in saying that DC drew the largest crowd ever in SAL’s concert history. There were even a few of the admin staff amongst the faces in the crowd. I thought it was a shame they didn’t call for an encore, but maybe you need a few diehard fans in the audience to get that happening. After it was all over, there was a considerable queue waiting to buy MTH. Not having any ready cash I took the safe option and had a brief chat with Willy about some of the finer points of his guitar playing.
If I was to sum up my first live DC experience in a few words, I’d have to say that it was refreshing to have her come across as a human being rather than some image concocted by a marketing agency. I’ve spent considerable sums of money seeing artists with big reputations on big stages and come away feeling somewhat let down.
Quite apart from her exceptional talents as a singer and guitar player, Deborah Conway’s rather distinctive style of humanity is very endearing.
Tim Hackett

Australia Day, 1998

Deborah and Willy peformed twice in free concerts for the faithful and lucky alike. The first show was in the Fitzroy Gardens. The weather was pretty horrible and the punters pretty thin on the ground. They started the show with a new song (sorry, didn’t catch the name of it) and then progressed through Alive and Brilliant, Here in My Arms, 2001 Ultrasound, Release Me, Today I am a Daisy, Only the Bones, and Girl Thing.
In Williamstown that evening they played again to an enthusiatic crowd at the Williamstown Festival (actually in Newport). They fired up for pretty much the same set but seemed to be enjoying it a lot more. This was certainly the show to see for the day. Syd did a good job of upstaging her parents when she danced in front of the stage and also wanted to join them.
The second show was certainly the one to see and we can only hope that they will be back for the Willy Festival in 1999.

Tilley’s – 6 Dec 1997

“We’re aiming for audience satisfaction tonight!!” proclaimed Deborah as she took the stage for the last time in Canberra for 97. Willy joined her (were they the same pants Deb wore in the video clip for “It’s only the Beginning” – out on the golf course?) and the gorgeous couple launched into “I’m Not Satisfied.”
After four days of clean air and good living in the Nation’s Capital, the pair looked rejuvenated and full of energy for what was the highlight of their four night stint at Tilley’s. Deb started slowly saying “I had so many things to say tonight but my brains have dissolved and dribbled into my stomach…” which livened up the audience who couldn’t stop smiling and grooving all night.
We were treated to Willy at his best, he could have sat and played all night… it was one of those concerts. I couldn’t help but think that he had read his brother’s review as his feet appeared to be glued to his bar stool!! He did admit after the concert that he had read the review but denied any conscious change in behaviour!
When Willy’s happy, Deb’s happy, and their energy flowed through to all of us lucky enough to be present. “She Prefers Fire” was particularly engaging with “Today I’m a Daisy” the big winner on the evening.
The best was saved for the encore when Deb fielded requests from the floor… “GOLDFINGER!!!”…. Deb looked at Willy – “Naaaah…” “STRING OF PEARLS?!?” Again – “It’s too long.” Shouts of “MAN OVERBOARD!!”, “MAN OVERBOARD!!”, MAN OVERBOARD!!” echoed around the bar and we were treated to the epic tune for a good six or seven minutes… just tremendous. “White Roses” concluded what had been an unforgettable night.
Until… Deb emerged from the change room for a solo performance of DCN #348. “Sorry – I know you all want to go home but I promised someone I’d play this for them. I’ve only played it live once before and it was here at Tilley’s a few years ago, probably for the same person… must have the soft touch.” The entranced crowd savoured every second of the beautiful song and couldn’t believe their luck at hearing this rare gem. Willy joined Deb and they played another request, “Bag of Sweets”, with such incredible feeling and aplomb.
I certainly can’t thank Deb and Willy enough for their professionalism, their kindness and their sincerity, but most of all for the special encore performance.
And the crowd??? 100% satisfied.
Sarah Groube

Tilley’s – 4 Dec 1997

Day Two of “Deborah Conway Week” in Canberra was never going to live up to the spectacle that was Opening Night.
Whilst Deb and Willy were at full strength to start the show, it was obvious that they were thrown by a few distractions during the evening.
Willy’s guitar string snapped right in the middle of “Release Me”. He recovered magnificently, clocking a world record lap of the stage to pick up his spare guitar and reposition himself gracefully on his stool, just in time for his essential solo.
The new guitar presented some problems, providing an annoying feedback when the stage ligts were on. A few minutes of experimentation followed, with the lights, the sound, and even Willy’s interpretation of Mr Bean in the episode where he brings a new television home and can’t quite sort out the reception.
Luckily, the guitarist from support band The Deadly Nightshades was on hand to restring the #1 guitar. Unfortunately, he neglected to retune the string and copped a small mouthful from Willy… all in good fun.
Just one more drama when the incredible stench which seeped through from the toilets (shared by the Thai restaurant next door)was enough to gag Deborah and the entire front row. This led Deb onto her entertaining story of the gig in London where the toilets above the stage were leaking into the venue and everyone had to be evacuated… nasty!
The encore set was kicked off with “Last to Know”… no voting for “White Roses” tonight. We heard “String of Pearls” (thanks to Willy for reminding Deb of the words to the first line), but other than that the set was the same as Wednesday (no “Bag of Sweets” though).
Deb has added to her comment that “Yes, I have had sex recently,” sice she has arrived in Canberra. “… and heterosexual sex too, would you believe?!” Can you say that?!
All in all, the fab trio (it’s Rupert who mixes, sound checks, baby sits and sound checks again who really makes the show what it is), provided another fantastic night of entertainment in Lyneham.
Sarah Groube

Tilley’s – 3 Dec 1997

Wednesday 3rd December, Tilley’s, Canberra
Deborah loves Canberra … it must be a combination of the intimate venue Tilley’s and the impecably behaved audience. Most of all though – Deb gets to play the politician!
“Can’t wait for the double disillusion!!” she proclaimed mid way through the set… “F*%& you John Howard!!!” she screamed as she lifted her dress to reveal an Aboriginal flag garter encasing her left calf.
And again – “Who here listens to JJJ??” Deb received a mediocre response. “Well you should all request 2001 Ultrasound… they think it’s too mature. I have just one thing to say to Triple J —-” followed by a huge raspberry. Deb launched into a powerful, tuneful rendition which had the otherwise subdued crowd swaying in their seats.
The new songs sounded fantastic in the acoustic set. Willy’s vocals really provided a solid, smooth support to the tunes, especially in the crowd favourite “It’s a Girl Thing”, and in my favourite “Bag of Sweets”.
Without the full band sound and with a perfectly behaved audience (my friend leaned over and whispered to me “Is this Deborah’s first baby?” and was immediately threatened with expulsion by the venue manager if she didn’t be quiet – who needs bouncers?!?), the lyrics were captured magnificently in the cosy bar. It’s incredible to see an audience nodding not only to the beat of the music but also in agreeance with the lyrics.
The 90 minute set was a true mix of the old and the new but we weren’t treated with “String of Pearls” or “Madame Butterfly is in Trouble”… lucky there’s a few more shows in town!! Still, no one could complain after hearing “Release Me”, “Today I’m a Daisy”, “Alive and Brilliant”, “She Prefers Fire”, and the beautiful “White Roses”.
There was no sign of THE red dress, nor the white sleeveless number. Instead, Deb cut a stunning figure in a glittery gold full length dress. Willy was charming as usual in his loud blue shirt, red jeans and his trademark comfy leather sandles.
Well done and thank you Deb and Willy for a great night, and congratulations to Tilley’s for the magnificent sound, and comfortable smoke-free venue!!
Sarah Groube

Continental Cafe, 29th November 1997

Yep, I know there’s been a review of this gig already, but what the heck, I was there too. And, for all you know, I might have a totally different opinion. So, read on.
First of all, however, I have to declare an interest. I’m Willy’s older brother which makes me Deborah’s brother-in-law – well ,de facto brother-in-law, given that they’re not married – and Syd’s uncle. However this doesn’t necessarily mean a glowing, uncritical review. I pride myself on my objectivity. And don’t forget the unresolved sibling rivalry!
Hmm, getting sidetracked. So what did I think? Well I clapped along, moved my head around a lot and tapped my foot, definitely a good sign. I even did occasional backing harmony, although it was pretty much under my breath and about 10 metres from the stage, so I’m not sure that the audience realised how much added value it gave to the performance. More to the point I didn’t fall asleep, definitely a big tribute from a person who starts getting sleepy a couple of hours after rising.
I thought the balance of old and new material was spot on and illustrated Deborah’s growth as an artist. Her voice, in keeping with the maturity of the songs, has unquestionably ripened. A rougher edge, yet still caressing, and without the histrionics that I think she occasionally indulged in some years back. I also thought that the feeling and interplay between everyone on stage was relaxed and comfortable, and the sound, particularly for a trio, was developed and full.
Any criticisms? Well, investment in a choreographer might be a thought. Willy’s sitting dance technique leaves a lot to be desired. Bum on the stool, a lift of the left foot, a couple of wiggles, then down. Ditto the right, then back to the left. Ad nauseam. Reminds me of when we used to go down to Elwood Beach for the first chilly dip of the season when he was little. Secondly, they didn’t do “Petrolhead”, a number crying out for the great Australian film noir Mount Waverley movie to be built around it. Finally, Willy, you’re a great guitarist – George Colman would be proud of you – and I for one didn’t get anywhere near enough of your playing.
So, a ripper night -with a special thank you to Charmaine for the comfy seats – except for the cigarette smoke. I’ll give it an 8. A few dance lessons and you might be looking at a near perfect score in the future.
Geoffrey Zygier

Continental Cafe, 29 Nov 1997

The support act for this gig were Paul Hester’s Largest Living Things. They warmed up the crowd with a short set including one Crowded House song (kare kare) and his claim to be Deborah’s first husband, a claim she later described as “wishful thinking”.
Deborah and Willy were joined on stage by drummer Tony Floyd for their performance. The show had a more relaxed air to it with all three seated for most of the time. Fans were just spoiled in this show. Lots of songs from the new album along with rarely heard favourites She Prefers Fire, Today I am a Daisy, White Roses, and Born Once (sung by both DC and WZ).
Deborah seemed relaxed and was very chatty about all sort of nonsense. She asked for suggestions to replace Cary Grant (in It’s Only the Beginning), and found no-one up to the task although Adam Ant and a young Harrison Ford were contenders.
A classic show.

Prince Patrick Hotel, 3rd November 1997

Having returned from Noosa, where they played the night before, Deborah Conway et al could be excused for feeling a little tired. Luckily the support act, The Blue House, gave night a fabulous beginning for Cup Eve in Melbourne, Australia’s gambling capital. They opened with a terrific set of their own material and also their unique and hilarious version of Fever. Blue House are releasing their second EP this week and are a group DC fans should watch closely.
Deborah appeared in the now famous red dress. The play list was much the same as the previous shows in this tour with the addition of the crowd pleasing Today I am a Daisy. It spite of the obvious fatigue, DC and band put on a great show. She was particularly chatty and even mentioned that her baby is due February 13, which is also Syd’s birthday.
Through all the shows I have seen on this tour Willy Zygier remains very much the unsung hero. His guitar work is nothing short of inspired, he appears to enjoy every note, and can always be counted on the remember the words to songs when DC has a moment of forgetfulness. Although Deborah makes the show, I urge people to watch out for William J. Zygier as he is equally delightful to watch perform.
The only low point of the show was when am over-enthusiastic punter decided to impress with this dancing style. It turned out to be a cross between Peter Garrett and a plane crash, astonishing to watch and clearing a wide path through the crowd. Sadly this treat only lasted a couple of songs.
In all a good solid show, maybe not one for the history books but well worth the $12 and then some.
Mark O’Meara

Doghouse, Brisbane, 1 Nov 1997

ON a weekend, venues generally attract crowds of people wanting to do one of two things: drink or smoke heavily, and create some sort of disturbance. On this particular evening, however, the mood inside the Doghouse is relatively sombre and it is almost 11pm before the first signs of Deborah Conway’s presence begain to be felt.
The air is becoming more and more difficult to breathe, and a mediocre support band have just about worn out their welcome with the crowd at the packed jazz venue when Willy Zygier and the band take to the stage, signalling Deborah’s imminent arrival.
It has been quite sometime since we were last able to see Deborah live, and in that time her aesthetic beauty (although unimportant) seems to have become even startlingly more apparent. It is certainly in person that her true gorgeousness shines through as her self-deprecating sense of humour blends effortlessly with that flawless, creamy complexion; dark hair and ruby red lips.
Likewise, the by-now well documented red gown is Deborah down to the ground. As she gently strokes her growing belly and jokes with the crowd (“Yes folks, I HAVE had sex!”), it is clear that she is at her happiest, healthiest and clearly most confident.
Over the ensuing two hours, Deborah delves into a back catalogue that delights devotees and seems to win acclaim with recent converts. The lush tunes of My Third Husband go down a treat live and two older numbers, String of Pearls and White Roses, were particularly spellbinding. Indeed, even the rowdiest of patrons (the three guys whom Deb asked to ‘Shut the hell up!’ a good three or four times) lowered themselves to a dull roar as her voice soared over the acoustic guitar accompaniment.
It was Deborah’s first ever show at the Doghouse, an intimate (albeit respiratory impairing!) jazz venue with respectful patrons that suited her moody, cabaret performance with disarming surprise. The crowd were, by the end of the evening, vocal in their appreciation for the tunes, both old and new, and those who have been with her since the beginning thrilled in seeing her live again at last.
Shortly before 1am, after two solid hours of melodic rise, fall and good-natured banter, the crowd’s enthusiasm had not decreased and although Deborah’s weary smile conveyed how touched she was by the sincerity of the applause, she warned us that this, the third encore, would have to constitute the grand finale.
It was with that that she broke into a rousing rendition of It’s Only The Beginning, stopping to thank a couple at the front of the crowd for a bunch of flowers (“How sweet, perhaps today I can be a rose!”), followed by Today I Am A Daisy, a flourish of kisses and the declaration that: “You guys are the best Gold Coast audience I’ve had! I bet you’re thinking, ‘She says this to all her Gold Coast audiences’, but I mean it you guys. Thank you, I’m grateful”.
Somehow, though, I cannot help but feel it is we who should be thanking Deborah for her spellbinding show and consummate kindness.
Heidi Maier

The Capitol, Brisbane, 31 Oct 1997

In a filled Capitol Theatre on Friday night in Brisbane, Deb, Willy and some new faces belted out a well balanced mix of tracks from the latest masterpiece, My 3rd Husband, and one or two songs from String of Pearls, Bitch Epic, Do Re Mi and Ultrasound.
The tone of the new album was captured magnificently live although it was plain to see that only a handful of fans had heard the album.
Having seen Deb live half a dozen times previously in Canberra, only performing with Willy and Bill (bassist – not on this tour), this full band sound was a new experience for me. While Deb’s vocals were stronger and more powerful than ever, the lyrics were sometimes lost in the oddly shaped venue. Not so when She and Willy returned to the stage for “String of Pearls” and the song that wrenches at everyone’s heart, “White Roses”.
The most entrancing tune of the night had to be “Bag of Sweets”. Having been tempted with the lyrics on this Web site for some months now, it was fascinating to hear the album version. To see Deb perform it live was the most sexy, seductive and totally enchanting performance I’ve ever seen.
If you’re planning to see Deb on this tour, make sure you grab the cd before you go so that you can really be involved in the whole show.
I’ve never seen Deb with so much energy or radiance in concert and she was constantly showered with shouts of “You’re beautiful!” Despite her insistence that it wasn’t her birthday, one section of the crowd and kept breaking into hearty renditions of “Happy Birthday”.
The same section of the crowd was hanging out to hear “Will you miss me when you’re sober” but their requests were lost in the noisy rabble.
The one downside for the group was at the end of the show when some idiot, in a mad rush for Deb memoribillia, stole the keyboardists charts. Having only been with Willy and Deb for four weeks, the band gelled particularly well but poor keyboardist was having kittens over his missing script. If you’re out there GIVE IT BACK!!! – buy the cd instead…
It was plain to see that Deb’s been sorely missed and I trust that we won’t be starved of live shows for another two years.
Sarah Groube

The Capitol, Brisbane 31 Oct 1997

Doors opened to the venue at 8pm. I arrived around 9.30 and there was a young woman soloing on a guitar – not bad. Before she finished her performance, she told the audience that she had heard that it WAS Deborah Conway’s birthday that day, so we had better be nice to her. I had also thought that Deborah was born on Halloween, but I wasn’t sure of the fact. The soloist went off stage, followed by a delay of about 15 minutes. I was shocked when two bald women, and one who looked like Marilyn Manson appeared on stage. Had Deborah ditched Willy and co. for these rather alternative musos? No, it was another warm-up band, which played until about 10.45 pm, and was not bad.
Deborah finally came on at 11pm to thunderous applause. She was in that by now famous red-sequened dress, but had a guitar over her stomach so we could not yet see the dress’s main feature. She opened with the first three tracks from My Third Husband, then took off her guitar to reveal her protruding stomach to the audience – “Yes, I have had sex recently”, she announced. She then went on to play Alive and Brilliant and a few other old tracks, which recieved great support from the audience.
Deborah played several songs from My Third Husband, a few from Bitch Epic, a couple from String of Pearls and also the crowd favourite, Man Overboard. She returned in a sleeveless white dress for two encores, the second of which began with just herself and Willy.
On three occasions the audience tried to sing Happy Birthday, finally being successful on the third try. Deborah looked to Willy in amusement and said, “I can’t do it to these people, I can’t tell them it’s not really my birthday. Look, the Queen has a birthday that’s not really her birthday, so I declare this Deborah Conway’s Birthday”. The crowd cheered in delight.
Although Deborah was not as chatty with the audience as she has been in past gigs, she gave a stunning show, proving that even if she has developed a maternal instinct, she has in no way lost her performance instinct, and remains the queen of Australian pub rock.
Sarah Keenan

Prince of Wales, 25 October 1997

Deborah and Willy excelled in thier second show at the Prince of Wales. The play list was similar to the Friday night performance with a couple of minor changes. Deborah seemed in high spirits and chatted to the audience every few songs. She predicted this tour would lead to a baby boom to bring more Labor voters into the world. She also assured us that any problems in the show were most certainly Kennett’s fault.
Additions to the playlist started with the often requested Madame Butterfly is In Trouble. In the encoure someone screamed out for White Roses, Deborah called for a show of hands for that or Last to Know. White Roses won beyond all doubts.
White Roses was performed by only Deborah and Willy, with Willy on guitar. He austounded everyone present (including DC) with his fabulous work with this classic. He was rewarded with a big round of applause from everyone led by Deborah.
In all a fantastic show, one for the history books.
Mark O’Meara

Prince of Wales, 24 October 1997

In the first of her two gigs at the Prince of Wales, Deborah again gave a glittering performance. She took the stage in a gorgeous red lame dress which featured a heart-shaped cutout, exposing her belly where the latest member of the Conway-Zygier clan is preparing for his/her entrance. Her gold slingback shoes were kicked off half way through the first song, and a barefoot and pregnant (her words) Deborah danced and sang her way through All of the Above, Only The Bones, Everything You Want It to Be, Alive & Brilliant, Adultery, Here in My Arms, 3 Love, Holes in the Road, Feathers in My Mouth, Bag of Sweets, Release Me, It’s a Girl Thing, 2001 Ultrasound and Man Overboard before an entranced audience.
As with the Dan O’Connell gig, the audience were less interested in the songs from My Third Husband than those from String of Pearls and Bitch Epic, however this time they at least gave the new songs a hearing, and from the few I saw mouthing the words, it appears some have actually bought the new album. The older songs took on an almost anthemic quality as the crowd could be heard quite clearly singing along.
We were rewarded this time with two encores, the first consisting of String of Pearls and It’s Only the Beginning and the second of the rarely heard Last to Know and It’s Only a Dream. All in all, a great gig with Deborah, Willy and band in fine form before an appreciative audience.
Nicky Pelletier

Dan O’Connell Warm Up Gig, 23 Oct 1997

Deborah performed her first Melbourne gig for two years (or thereabouts) in a warm up gig at the Dan O’Connell in Carlton. She wasted no time demonstrating that she has gone from strength to strength as a performer.
Deborah and Willy Zygier were joined on stage by a drummer, bass, and synth player (sorry, I didn’t remember their names in all the excitement.)
They started with All of the Above and Only the Bones. Although not in this order, she then played The Way You Look Tonight, Release Me, Adultery, Hole in the Road, Alive and Brilliant, 2001 Ultrasound, Here in My Arms, Bag of Sweets, Everything You Want it to Be, It’s a Girl Thing, It’s Only a Dream, and Man Overboard.
While the place was packed it was painfully obvious that most of the crowd was totally unfamiliar with the new songs. The My Third Husband songs, which sound very produced on the CD, went off beautifully live. The audience kicked in for the String of Pearls and Bitch Epic songs and the sheer audience thrill and swing in Man Overboard was nothing short of astonishing.
Despite the audience’s pissweak performance Deborah came back on to play String of Pearls and It’s Only the Beginning.
The whole Deborah thing, the voice, the attitude, the songs old & new, the personality and the snarl were all back in force.
Mark O’Meara

The Garage, North London, 1996

Having been at a very impressive gig a couple of weeks ago of Deborah, Willy and their band, I did a Net-search on ‘Deborah Conway’ and found you. Thought you might like a brief precis of the night….
The place was The Garage in Highbury, north London, a small yet intimate venue. One which does not afford the luxury of a back stage door to avoid the hordes of fans. But whilst Deborah and Willy were able to surreptitiously slink in through the front door in relative anonymity, they shouldn’t take this for granted, not for long in any case. As the night came to a close, the word spread again … different town, same fame.
From the moment their support, the inimitable Ursula, completed her repertoir (including a rather alternative version of Sound of Music’s ‘Do-Re-Mi’ – smell the irony?), the mood was right. They opened with a couple of new songs before launching into a deliciously upbeat rendition of ‘Release Me’. The place was pumping.
Parenthood must sit well with Deborah and Willy. The lyrics still pack a punch, but now in a measured way. The music is more interesting than ever before – don’t expect to be hand-fed the tune from verse to chorus. Highlights were the hauntingly romantic ‘Here In My Arms’ and ‘This Is The Show’.
Peppered through the new numbers were several Conway classics, including ‘Alive and Brilliant’, and a triple encore of ‘City of Women’, a funky ‘Man Overboard’ and ‘Three Love’. But the best was ‘Today I Am A Daisy’ – if I had three feet, I’d have stamped them all.
Deborah and Willy’s performance was as usual professional, yet challenging. We wait for more – roll on live shows, roll on CD releases … more!
Martin Guenzl