Adelaide Botanic Park, Fri Mar 6
I arrive on opening night in time to hear most of The Painted Ladies’ set. I know little about the history of these songs and don’t care much for the lectures, but I enjoy the music. Then I am bustled out of my comfort zone by a noisy parade of people sprinkling brightly coloured powder over everything. The Colour Of Time has arrived. To avoid being smothered I head to Stage 2 to take in the desert sounds of Bombino. Their costumes are impressive and the music is hitting a groove, but my eye draws me back to the spectacle The Colour Of Time is now creating. Large clouds of colour hurtle into the air and people are drenched whether they want to or not. To avoid this fate I follow my ears down to Stage 3 where Charlie Musselwhite is totally engaging the crowd with some tasty blues riffs.
Buena Vista Sessions are a class act as expected, but where is Omara Portuondo? When she eventually arrives she is clearly enjoying being in the spotlight and puts on a performance that belies her advanced years.
C.W. Stoneking is a favourite but I’m curious about one performance only Sharon Van Etten and head in the opposite direction. I like her songs very much but the sound is not so good and it’s affecting her performance and I get a text to say that Fanfare Ciocarlia are tearing it up on Stage 2. What’s not to like about a 12-piece Romanian brass band well past their youth, dressed in bright red shirts, ripping through Born To Be Wild. So I stay here and miss C.W. Stoneking who I’m told afterwards was excellent! WOMADelaide!
Back to Stage 1 for Rufus Wainwright, who has brought along special guest Lucy Wainwright-Roche. The voices are excellent. They play some crowd-pleasers including the expected Hallelujah. Rufus is particularly impressive on piano, wittily blaming any errors on the Cubans who had used the piano previously. When he picks up a guitar I am reminded I prefer his father…
I want to hear Public Service Broadcasting and start heading that way. But once again I’m distracted by the energy of the Soil & “Pimp” Sessions and find myself really enjoying someone I wasn’t planning to see.
So for my first foray into WOMADelaide this year I haven’t wandered away from the 3 main stages. Must fix that! There is so much more to see and hear. But if the first night is anything to go by this will be a cracker of a weekend
Image courtesy of David Robinson