The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ Aurora Spiegeltent, Fri Feb 27
This concert is a celebration of where Toni Childs is now, rather than a journey through past highlights. She has a new CD It’s All A Beautiful Noise and she wants you to hear it. A slight nod to past glories – Where’s The Ocean? from Union and What Do I Do? from Citizens Of The Planet, but mainly the set list is made over to songs from the new album – Time Dreamer, Why Do Angels (Have To Fall), Fragile and Celebrate – a love song to her new husband Mik Lavage, a guitarist in the band. There is a communal gasp of affection when she mentions they got together at the Adelaide Fringe two years ago. The new songs are all worthy vehicles for Toni Childs’ distinctive voice and the 5-piece band play with a precision that never attempts to overpower her.
To bring the concert back to familiar territory she asks the women in the audience to join her on stage and a group of the willing sit in a circle onstage while she sings the empowering Because You’re Beautiful from Keep The Faith. When the song is over she hugs each one individually. I have never seen this kind of interaction between performer and audience and it is stirring stuff. Then to my total surprise she repeats this with the men! A cracking version of Zimbabwe from Union, inspired by the dance movements of African men, has a number of men standing around the edge of the stage joining in. Again when the song is over, she hugs each man who has got up to participate.
This love-fest goes on a little too long to allow time for the intended encore which would have rounded out this concert nicely. But there is a full house for the next Aurora Spiegeltent show waiting in the drizzling rain outside…