[UNITED STATES ~ ADELAIDE PREMIERE]
Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Mon 11 Jun.
Lea DeLaria was in Adelaide for one night only and at the end of her tour so she was certainly in the mood to let her hair down a bit (or as much as that style will allow anyway), and yet despite her wildly raunchy energy and rude rapport with the audience she takes her music and her art awfully seriously. You don’t f*** with Lea DeLaria!
Her three-piece backing-band hit the stage first, followed by the gal herself, complete with a T-shirt that read ‘DYKE’ instead of ‘NIKE’, and they launched straight into a sarcasm-dripping, super-cool rendition of David Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging, complete with both a Beatles and Trump reference (a weird combination indeed!). She then explained how the songs we were to hear were mostly taken from her album House Of David: deliria + bowie = jazz, as blessed by the man himself six months before his death, and then she nipped in a quick Guys And Dolls bit before her rereading of Bowie’s Fame, with a lot of tremendous improve. by a band who often giggled with embarrassment when she knocked off crude jokes.
A sudden and huge rant about Donald Trump was inevitable given Lea’s loud-and-proud-and-unrepentant persona, and the gorgeously foul-mouthed tirade also swiped at the equally appalling and horrifically homophobic Mike Pence. Yes, the gentleman doth protest too much, Lea!
A version of Bowie’s original classic Space Oddity featured an Aladdin Sane-like midpoint-piano-freak-out, while Let’s Dance was moodily slowed down and Starman was intriguingly deconstructed into something sweet, sexy and strange. But, again, it wasn’t all Bowie, meaning there was room for a big, aggressive ‘lesbian singalong’ to the how-did-they-get-away-with-that??? 1930s charmer My Cat Fell In The Well and a fabulous rendition of Stephen (sorry, “Steve”) Sondheim’s The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd, which Lea says was her breakthrough number. And look what’s happened since!
The expected encore allowed a lucky punter to ask one question about the next series of Orange Is The New Black (and it was a nice one), and then Lea and the ladies leapt into an apparently unrehearsed but very smooth take on Peggy Lee’s Why Don’t You Do It Right?.
Lea loved the audience and said we were “fan-f***ing-tastic”, but of course we were, because she was so fan-f***ing-tastic herself. Long live Lea DeLaria!