There was a lot of anticipation surrounding this gig, given that it was originally due to be performed in Adelaide during last year’s Guitar Festival and had to be postponed twice due to COVID-related travel restrictions. 19. And the public was not disappointed.
Vocalists Tex Perkins (The Cruel Sea, Beasts of Bourbon), Tim Rogers (You Am I), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), and Adalita (Magic Dirt) took every song on the album by the throat, so to speak, and the backing musicians were exemplary.
Familiarity with that bold first riff of “Brown Sugar” couldn’t take away the excitement from its live delivery. Showman Rogers was the lead singer: Dressed in a purple jacket and shoes, and shimmering green pants, maracas in hand, he danced to shame Jagger. His voice was strained but there was a great reception for this first offering.
“Sway” was completely Perkins territory. Without a peacock adornment, he still owned the stage; it was all about expert phrasing and that authoritative voice. Jak Housden’s lead guitar was remarkable. Adalita joined Perkins for a hand-in-hand rendition of the country-style “Wild Horses,” complete with backing vocals from the band and excellent drumming from Hamish Stuart.
One of the highlights was “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. The first isolated riff is a question, with that intriguing pause after. Jamieson affected a cocky swagger, presenting the character and voice to perfection. The mid-break Latin feel came, and a free passage that elevated the saxophone beautifully, before an infectious mix in which Housden’s lead guitar hinted at Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac.
The four singers combined for the slow, bluesy “You Gotta Move,” a song the Stones delivered with road gang weariness; in your face and mournful. “Bitch,” with a tight, pounding rhythm section, gave Rogers the stage alone for a briefly shirtless performance, before Jamieson emerged with a lovely phrasing on “I Got the Blues.”
Perkins made “Sister Morphine” his own, filling her with angst expressed not just in his voice but also in his body language, including dragging himself and the mic stand (James Brown style) backstage at the end. . The predominantly red lighting was well judged.
Adalita’s “Dead Flowers” was almost music hall by comparison, underscored by the fact that she encouraged the audience to sing along. Quite bubbly, it gave a nod to the tongue-in-cheek original. Perkins joined her for a heartfelt “Moonlight Mile”, in which they exchanged verses. And that was the album done – but not the show.
There were more Rolling Stones to come, starting with the dynamic opener to “Start Me Up.” “Paint It Black” was all Perkins, framed by great lighting and perfect drumming. Rogers took “Let’s Spend the Night Together” — to be done in a manner approved by COVID guidelines, according to his ad lib.
The piano intro to “Ruby Tuesday” instantly had the audience on their side, waving their arms with Adalita. Perkins was next with “Angie,” that lament to impossible love…and so on. A prowling Rogers was “Midnight Rambler” everywhere, his shirt swirling above his head, then his belt as well. Jamieson’s popular “Miss You” was delivered with plenty of punch.
The audience latched onto “Sympathy for the Devil,” clapping along to the beat as Perkins sang a great track and the others took in background vocals and percussion. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” featured Adalita and Rogers in a handsome couple, and Rogers took on “Jumping Jack Flash” in exuberant style.
That was it ? Lots of whistling, cheering and stomping said no. Everyone returned for “Gimme Shelter” and “Satisfaction,” wrapping up a lively night to wrap up their tour. It was a gathering of very talented musicians showing off their chops with obvious delight at the Festival Theatre.
The Stones’ Sticky Fingers premiered at the Festival Theater for one night only on February 13.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.