Review by Natasha Wyborn
Belinda Carlisle entertained a sold out crowd at Ulumbarra Theatre Bendigo on Friday night. Currently touring Australia celebrating the 30th Anniversary of her 1989 world wide smash album Runaway Horses.
I seriously doubt you would find a better way to end the first day of autumn, a warm night, capacity crowd hanging on every word, and, be it brief a transportation back to 1989, for Bendigo what as in store was the complete entertainment package. The audience was a mixture of hard core long serving and the more recently acquainted. Support act 1927 kicked off the evening and basically in a few songs owned the house. Having toured for over 30 years on the success of one of Australian music’s most memorable albums, …Ish. Eric Weideman and the three piece band promptly had a backing audience of over 1000 people. ‘That’s When I Think Of You’ and ‘If I Could’ not only brought the house down but also managed to draw a few tears from many audience members along the way.
A short break and enter the person everyone had come to see. Gracing the stage in a leisurely shirt and pants you could easily have been at the beach. Supported by a five piece band complete with keyboards and acoustic guitar. The first thing to go were the shoes and what followed was a set of songs which linked together perfectly to bring back a childhood or at the very least a time when the world was a better place. Opening her set with the title track ‘Runaway Horses ‘ Carlisle announced early in the set it was the 30th anniversary and the album would be played in its entirety. The crowd erupted with an overall consensus of bring it on. Selectively moving through the album the highlights for me were ‘Whatever it Takes’ a song especially added as part of the complete album package.
‘Mad About You’ the song that launched Carlisle’s solo career drew ecstatic applause from all within the theatre. Moving around the stage this elegant free and easy approach was contagious which rubbed off on the audience, one male audience member standing and singing ‘Circle in the Sand’ too Carlisle not missing a word, the attraction was obvious at least on his part. ‘I Get Weak’ drew overwhelming audience participation, with young and old singing every word. The fact the show was a sold out, the audience demographic was so great and everyone knew the words must have been a thrill to this music veteran. “Thank you Bendigo, I love playing in a jail” referring to the venues notorious history before undergoing its current renovation. Before introducing ‘Deep Deep Ocean’ Carlisle informed the audience that Beatles George Harrison played guitar on this album track as well as the album title track.
Moving into the hits this lady is gorgeous, its obvious she loves her craft and to have a following so strong is a testament to her longevity on the road and in the studio. The thrill for me was watching children singing to album tracks ensuring this momentum will continue for many years to come.
“Its Friday night isn’t it? so everybody can dance” said Carlisle with a smile before moving into dance. Almost on queue the crowd rose for the rest of the evening. ‘Summer Rain’, ‘Leave a Light On’, followed by hit ‘Live Your Life Be Free’.
“Who remembers the 80’s? I remember coming here in 1981 with a band called The Go-Gos, do you remember them?” she asked before breaking into ‘Our Lips are Sealed’.
‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ started the second encore before ending with the final track from her ‘Runaway Horses’ album ‘Shades Of Michelangelo’ the perfect desert to what can only be described as a wonderful meal.
Runaway Horses, (We Want) The Same Thing, Whatever It Takes, I Get Weak, Circle in the Sand, Deep Deep Ocean, Vision of You, La Luna, Mad About You, Valentine, Summer Rain, Leave a Light On.
Live Your Life Be Free, Our Lips Are Sealed
Heaven is a Place on Earth, Shades of Michelangelo