Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, Sat 11 Jun
If this is decadence it’s decadence at its most sophisticated. Ali McGregor could sing anything. She began with a ‘jazz bubble’ of classic tunes that oozed mood and class then moved into a lighter vein with some jazz like treatment of pop music from the ‘80s and ‘90s. A funny self-deprecating send-up of Celine Dion featured McGregor accompanying herself on an omnichord – she clearly doesn’t take herself too seriously. This is further demonstrated in a medley of songs from women rappers that showed many other sides of her remarkable voice.
Throughout this eclectic mix is some of the finest singing you can imagine. Her tone and extraordinary control of pitch, volume and vocal nuance is faultless. She could sing (and has) operatic arias, tuneful pop, sleazy blues/boogie, cool jazz, torch ballads, and raunchy rock songs as well as anyone.
By her own admission these days she is most at home with jazz. Her musical partnership with Sam Keevers on piano is touchingly symbiotic, and the idea of adding Adelaide saxophonist Chris Soole to the band at late notice was a stroke of genius. I have never heard sax played so low, soft, and sensuous – beautiful.
Add McGregor’s commanding stage presence, an obvious deep-seated physical affinity with the songs she sings (i.e. soul), and plenty of humour and you have a bewitching hour of cabaret. A superb singer and marvellous entertainer – there are few who can do both this well. All delivered with a humility and honesty that just makes you fall in love with her. The soaring anthemic dedication to ‘glorious misfits’ was somehow the perfect end.
Image courtesy of Alan Moyle
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