Reviewer and photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson
Chocolate Starfish plays Bat Out Of Hell
Albury Entertainment Centre Friday, February 10th 2023.
The “sirens are screaming, and the fires are howling way down in the Albury tonight”
The enthusiastic crowd at the Albury Entertainment Centre got to witness Chocolate Starfish’s latest in their classic album series.
I will disclose from the onset that I have an unashamed bias for the showmanship of Chocolate Starfish, in particular frontman Adam Thompson. Few music frontmen can play a show full throttle from the first note to the last, engaging every audience member. Few bands would dare to tackle in full one of the greatest albums produced in the 20th century; however the task seemed easy for this band.
The first note of the show began with Zakk Zedras on lead guitar, he was joined promptly by John Nixon on bass, the keys of Norm Falvo and Darren Danielson on drums. The addition of Pete Mitchell on sax, and the backing vocals of Julie Walter and Kate Daley was musical brilliance. Enter frontman, Adam Thompson. Dressed in knee-high boots and head-to-toe glitter, the outfit complimented the task ahead. Opening with the title track, ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, lasting almost eight-minute’s. The opener, complete with all the well-known Thompson moves and theatrics, catapulted the audience back to 1977, a simpler and arguably better time. The majority of the audience in attendance was mature, and it was great to look around and see the odd teenager belting out the tunes ensuring longevity to this classic album.
Accepting the applause, Thompson then stopped and acknowledged the brilliance of Meatloaf and Jim Steinman. Ironically, these artists were lost to the world barely two years apart.
Joining Thompson front and centre, Julie Walter romanced the audience with the classic ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth’ complete with the ‘On a hot summer night’ prelude. The chemistry between both artists is evident, and the talent is overwhelming. Other highlights included the emotional rendition of ‘For Crying Out Loud’, which left the audience silent and emotional. Finishing out the album ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’ again featuring Walter sharing lead vocals.
Part two of the show consisted of ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ and other classic songs written by Jim Steinman for other artists, including Bonnie Tyler’s 70’s classic ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart featuring lead vocals by Kate Daley and Celine Dion’s Its All Coming Back To Me Now. Starfish hits ‘Mountain’, and the Carley Simon cover ‘Your So Vain’ finished the set before returning for an encore of the Rocky Horror smash ‘Time Warp’, acknowledging Meatloaf’s role as Eddy.
Rather than exiting the stage and leaving the venue, Thompson took the unique approach of walking out the entrance encouraging the audience to follow him into the main foyer. From there, he was front and centre for over an hour, meeting and greeting each fan, the characteristics of a true showman.
I walked out of the venue feeling completely satisfied. The show and theatrics of this event will be remembered for a long time. This is not just a concert but a major stage show.