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

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