FRINGE REVIEW: KATE CEBERANO IN THE SPIEGELTENT AT THE GARDEN OF UNEARTHLY DELIGHTS

Kate Ceberano’s one-off Adelaide Fringe show served as a magnificent reminder of why she is one of the very few people in Australia who deserves to be called a ‘national treasure’ without a hint of irony or sarcasm.

By serving up a setlist that covered songs from all stages of her career, from her I’m Talking days right through to the later years of her solo career, Ceberano underlined what   a significant contributor to the soundtrack of this country’s daily life she has been for over thirty years.

She constantly cracked jokes and told funny, affectionate anecdotes throughout the all too short hour she was on stage, indicating how comfortable and at home she feels in this city that has taken her so fully to its heart over the years.

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Ceberano’s energy and joie de vivre was infectious. Everybody soon caught the bug, and there would not have been a single person in attendance who did not find themselves in the thrall of one of Australia’s greatest vocal entertainers.

It is impossible to dispute what a great voice she has. Even when energetically playing drums, like she did during her first bracket made up of I’m Talking songs – Holy Word, Trust Me & Love Don’t Live Here Anymore – her note perfect vocals lost none of their trademark clarity or power.

Later in the show, Ceberano confessed to enjoying playing the songs by her old band so much that she promised to do more from the I’m Talking catalogue on her next visit. Let’s hope she keeps her word, because these songs seem to have stood up surprisingly well to the vagaries of time and fashion and still sound fresh and vital and deserve to be heard live more often.

Fondly reminiscing about two of her old friends and mentors, James Freud (‘from the moment I first lay eyes on him, I wanted to lick him all over!‘) and Chrissie Amphlett, led Ceberano to perform two great covers: The Models’ Barbados and The Divinyls’ I Touch Myself. The latter had Kate a little ‘worked up’ when she resumed her place on the drum seat, so much so, in fact, that she put her immediate desires into an impromptu song – much to the crowd’s amusement!

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A couple of sensitively interpreted Roberta Flack covers followed, before she moved into the latter half of the set which included hit songs such as Brave, Bedroom Eyes and Pash.

The diversity of her material, and her versatility as a singer, was really highlighted in the act of covering three decades in just an hour, as was the excellent playing of the band.

Guitarist James Ryan, bass player Rod Bustos  and new father, Paul Cecchinelli on keyboards and occasional drums, all looked as though playing with Ceberano is the best gig on earth.

As the hour concluded, we did get an encore – ‘I am the definition of more‘, Kate declared matter of factly – even though the venue’s strict schedule was compromised in the process. The band subsequently served up an appealingly lackadaisical version of Young Boys Are My Weakness before leaving the stage to a heartfelt standing ovation from the entranced crowd.

A terrific, five-star performance from one of the greats!

Kate Ceberano and her band appeared for one night only at The Spiegeltent in The Garden Of Unearthly Delights on March 11.

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