Seeing an act live has the ability to turn you from impartial listener to major fan. It's happened to me only a couple of times. Seeing Muse at Australia's Big Day Out Festival. Bombay Bicycle Club at this years Glastonbury and Little Dragon at Somerset House. All amazing acts to see live and absolute headliners. Last night though I walked away from a gig with Tina Arena far more impressed than I've ever been.
And I really didn't expect to be.
I grew up listening to Tina Arena with my sisters. Bellowing out "I'm in chains!" and "I want you to burn!" (You really need to hear the songs for that NOT to sound a bit creepy, especially when thinking of three little girls singing in their backyard), so anytime I think of Tina Arena, I kind of just associate her with those childhood memories. My music tastes have changed considerably.
But last night Tina had her first gig in the UK after a decade away. A comeback set in East London's St John at Hackney Church. It was an intimate setting and one I imagined would have a performance to match.
This woman though, my god, she is the essence of an entertainer. When Tina took the stage, the power behind her voice immediately hit me. This was sheer talent there. Not one sign of lip-synching or interference with her voice. You could see her mouth move purposefully in order to physically push out the lyrics in her songs. She puts strength behind each word.
She wasn't interested in just standing and delivering her music to the audience. Something that disappoints me about so many acts. Whether legends or new on the scene this stand-and-deliver approach is just too common and puts me off going to gigs. What's the point of hearing someone deliver their album to you when most of the time you can hear it better off iTunes at home? It confuses me how bands don't see the appeal in engaging with their audience.
And it was through her different approach to performing where I really warmed to Tina. She embodied confidence through her voice, her dancing and the poses she'd strike at the end of each song. A total diva on stage. But between songs she revealed herself to be a completely relatable woman, a down-to-earth Aussie girl from the suburbs. She was humbled and had a wicked sense of humour.
Her set was well-balanced between the old and the new. I'd forgotten just how many of Tina's songs were so much apart my memories with my sisters. Wasn't It Good, Sorrento Moon and I Need Your Body. I wished for them to be there so much in those moments. Music really is at it's best when it does that to you.
Her new stuff is equally as powerful as the songs that have made her Australia's most successful female artists of all time. Still Running and Don't Look Back are really worth a listen.
In fact, I genuinely do implore you to see Tina Arena live. Acts like this are few and far between. She is pure talent. It's worth supporting the real deal.
One of Tina's best...