Artspace, Sun Jun 8
I didn’t watch The Block so I never got to know Amity Dry, that is, not until now. Tonight we were given a very personal insight into the life of a girl who not only believed so much in herself and that her dreams were actually achievable, but was prepared to do anything to make those dreams become a reality.
A near capacity crowd was taken on a rollercoaster ride covering the highs and lows of a career that has surpassed the ambitions of a naïve 14-year-old songwriter, striving for fame and recognition. A book could be written on the fascinating storyline recalled so honestly by Dry. The initial rebuttal by record companies led to reality TV stardom, setting her up as another target for ‘hate mailers’. After further setbacks with recording companies, frustration grew. But she tells us of the joy of being a mum, carrying her through those troubled times. All the while, songs were being penned about these events; songs that would reap benefits in the future.
After her opening number, the narration began and within minutes she had the audience mesmerised. This was ‘our Amity’, the gal from down the road, telling it the way it should be told, over a cuppa and minus the spin. It was only when she broke into a song that it became obvious that this was not your usual suspect.
Her impeccable delivery allowed every word and phrase to be clearly heard and understood, a rarity indeed. The strength and power in her voice was as memorable as the delicate tones she poured over us when singing about missing her children while in New York. Her songs are very, very good. But technically they require something special in the vocal department to carry them off and this lady certainly has the goods. Laughter often filled the room and a few tissues could be seen, discreetly wiping away tears as she talked about missing her children.
Accompanied by her musical director and one of the finest pianists around, Mark Ferguson busily provided a canvas that allowed Dry to exhibit all of her talents to the fullest. As in all good stories, this one had a happy ending culminating in her musical Mother, Wife And The Complicated Life receiving a standing ovation at the United Nations in New York as a side event to the Commission for The Status of Women Conference.
Dry was joined on stage for one last number by the wonderful voices of Susan Ferguson and Rachel McCall, long time “Sisters in Arms”, concluding a memorable evening.
by Mike O’Callaghan
Amity Dry performs The Block To Broadway… And Beyond at Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, until Mon Jun 9.