Photos: Angie Paton
Singer Jon Stevens’ highly anticipated ‘Starlight’ tour kicked off in Melbourne this weekend with not one but two shows at The Palms at Crown and we were there for the opening night of the tour.
One of Australia’s leading guitarists, the enigmatic Phil Ceberano and his band opened the show and set the vibe for the night. Strutting across the stage, handing out guitar picks to fans lucky enough to be well positioned in the front row, Phil warmed up the crowd with his incredible guitar work and, at one point, even passed the lead singer duties over to drummer Thom Mann who proved his impressive vocals on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock and Roll’.
After a brief set from Phil and his band, there was a quick break before his sister and long-time musical and creative partner Kate made her entrance. Now, anyone who has ever seen Kate Ceberano perform or heard her sing, doesn’t need to be told what a great talent this lady is and she just seems to get better and better. Friday night’s performance was nothing short of superb as Kate took us through a short but oh so sweet set of a selection of some of her best-known songs, including ‘Brave’ and ‘Pash’ and teasing the female members of the audience with her tongue-in-cheek comments in anticipation of Jon Stevens; not to mention a little fun flirtation as she introduced another of her hits from that era, ‘Young Boys are My Weakness’ and ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ from Jesus Christ Superstar gave us a small taste of what to expect from the sensational finale. Citing Roberta Flack as one of her greatest early musical influences, Kate accompanied herself on piano as she delivered a soulful version of ‘Killing Me Softly’ before ending her set with ‘Bedroom Eyes’.
Stevens had the crowd at The Palms in the palm (no pun intended) of his hand, from the moment he hit the stage, backed by an impressive ensemble of musicians and backing vocalists and belting out the edgy ‘Devil in My Heart’ (from the ‘Starlight’ album). He kept the rock vibe going with ‘Hold On’, the first single lifted from the album. For my money, one of the best tracks on the album is the bluesy ‘Oh Lord’ which translates just as well ‘live’ as it does on the record. Jon slowed down the pace a bit with the latest single release from the album, ‘Feel Like Letting Go’ and the title track, another one of my personal favourites, the emotive ‘Starlight’; a song that was clearly coming straight from the heart.
The room was certainly abuzz with excitement with some members of the audience clearly a little more… er… zealous than others. Undoubtedly, the singer would be used to items being thrown on stage but Friday night’s gift of a pair of red panties took even him by surprise. Never let it be said that Jon’s fans are lacking in enthusiasm… or imagination.
While his current album was of course strongly featured, there was also a nod to the band he fronted for nearly four years with the INXS song ‘Kick’ and, let’s face it, no Jon Stevens gig would be complete without a few Noiseworks songs as well and there were enough of those to keep everyone happy. By the time the singer was reaching out to ‘Touch’ somebody, almost everyone in the room was on their feet and dancing, with some encouragement from the man on stage (not that it was needed) and the crowd sang along loudly to the anthemic ‘Take Me Back’, ‘No Lies’ and the closing song, ‘Hot Chilli Woman’.
If each of these artists gave great individual performances, the five-song finale, which saw Kate and Phil Ceberano joining Jon on stage, could only be described as brilliant! It kicked off with ‘Heaven on their Minds’, and ‘Everything’s Alright’, from Jesus Christ Superstar, followed by ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, another Noiseworks favourite, ‘Take You Higher’ and finishing off with ‘Proud Mary’, for which Jon brought backing vocalist Tony Kopa to centre stage to sing lead vocals.
Unfortunately, it had to end at some point but, from start to finish, this was an amazing night of entertainment and one I would highly recommend you don’t miss. The Starlight Tour is travelling around the country until mid-August. For full tour details, click here.
Review by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2017. All rights reserved