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Melbourne, March 15

PostPosted: 16 Mar 2011, 10:36
by meadowlark
Anyone else go?

I'll be brief

Third time I've seen her. Wonderful, but the least wonderful of the three. I don't really see this as anything to do with JN, other than a couple of minor annoyances (I would have preferred to have had two songs on the harp or the piano in a row more often, rather than the constant harp/piano/harp/piano/harp rotation). I just found the venue not at all conducive to the kind of intimacy I love when listening to Joanna, and - despite her telling us how wonderful we were several times - I thought the audience was flat and lifeless, barely bothering to laugh at her funny asides, offering no banter, and almost no movement. (I know we were seated, but it's still ok to move your head!). Really, quiet reverence is one thing, stiff silence is another when watching an artist who gives so freely and generously of her self. I also found the sound fairly poor, which was a surprise given the venue is a posh classical music recital hall. It was clear in the first two numbers that the levels were completely fucked - it seemed to even out a bit after that, although the piano was way too far down the mix for the rest of the night.

So, having got all of that off my chest, I can tell you that I found it a strangely mixed performance from Ms Newsom. A couple of numbers seemed a bit flat and rote to me - 'Soft as Chalk' and 'Easy', in particular. But then she gave us stunningly raw, piercingly present, percussive versions of 'Have One on Me' (astounding), 'California', 'Emily', and 'PPP' to end with (for the encore she commented that her arm was sore from 'PPP': "I really got into that!", she said). She threw every ounce of her being into these, as with a pristine and heart-rending 'Cosmia'.

There was an enjoyable 'Good Intentions' in there somewhere, a beautiful '81' and 'Baby Birch' as encores.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to play your own songs night after night in city after city for months on end, so I really cannot criticise the low energy on a couple of the numbers, especially given the unresponsiveness of the audience. (There were empty seats too - wtf?). And my goodness she made up for it by giving her all for so many of the songs - such courage, such generosity, such spirit. I love her as much as ever.

Re: Melbourne, March 15

PostPosted: 06 Apr 2011, 11:32
by meteorite
Thanks for the review Meadowlark.

I saw her in Sydney (5th time I've seen her) and it was really great. But the previous time in Thirroul 2010 the audience was like that, totally silent. And it does make the energy a bit weird and awkward. In Sydney it was like audience participation hour (sorry maybe there's a review here somewhere I didn't check) everyone was calling out crazy stuff between every song, lots of back and forth, and it was much better although almost a bit too much crapping on in some ways. But I think it maybe helped Joanna relax a bit, or something... because as soon as the music starts everyone just goes so quiet, listening intently, I mean how can you not! It was utterly mesmerising.

For me it was extra special, in had front row seats, right in front of Joanna. I had a chat to Neal before the gig as he was setting upon stage and got him to sign his record which I had bought. I could hear the harp clearly which is always a plus... Yeah it was great! Just wish I had the patience to hang around at the end to get her to sign something as well... Maybe next time.