Presented by: Premier Artists
Reviewed: 16 March 2017
As the Fringe blurb says ‘Leo Sayer needs no introduction’. Everyone would know at least one of his songs from his extensive back catalogue. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, When I Need You, Thunder in my Heart among many others have been mainstays of radio for decades. His fizzy curly hair has become almost as famous as his songs and has made him very recognisable. His passion for performing hasn’t dimmed with time, constantly touring the globe to delight audiences of all ages. Whilst this may sound like hyper-bole, the facts speak for themselves. One of his most recent Adelaide visits was last year when he teamed up with fellow veteran British performer, Lulu. That concert was suitably electric with the Festival Theatre coming alive with their tunes and strong singing. Sayer has been here many times and has called Australia home for several years. Having also been in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, he has performed in many local venues with his songs still drawing in crowds.
Bouncing onto the stage of the Magic Mirror Spiegeltent, Sayer cut an energetic figure. His dynamic personality shone through, masking his 68 years. Age has certainly not slowed him down as he spent an hour briskly going through his back-catalogue of classic tunes. His show was essentially a cut down ‘greatest hits’ set but most of the audience were there to hear them. Sayer knows this and embraced the songs by giving them a fresh spin. Whilst his vocal timbre has lowered a little over the years, his voice still sounds strong. How he puts meaning into his tunes and the passion he displays made them come alive. He is a natural performer, a showman who is truly in his element on stage. Although the hour set is far too small for a man of Sayer’s stature, he is professional enough to make light of this and ensure his audience enjoys going along for the musical ride.
He was solidly backed by a strong four-piece band, consisting of keyboards, bass, guitars and drums. Each added much to Sayer’s role as ring-master of his own melodic circus. The Show Must Go On and other tunes were expertly crafted songs given new life by the band. His singing of a Cliff Richard song was surprising until it was realised Sayer actually co-wrote it. The Beatles tune Let It Be was another interesting inclusion, although Sayer certainly did not write that one. But that was part of his quest in delivering some twists to a traditional show to keep listeners on their toes. Speaking of which, much dancing ensued when Sayer sang his popular up-tempo tracks with many dancing in the aisles like teenagers. He delivers a good party atmosphere but knows how to slow proceedings down to sing still stirring ballads. His versatility in all types of songs proved why he has remained beloved with generations of fans. His interaction with the audience was great and he seems very happy to meet people from all walks of life. His witty banter between songs were genuinely hilarious with one audience member being enterprising enough to bring several bottles of beer for the band – which were gratefully accepted!
Not much more can be said of Sayer’s show. One would know what to expect by now and those who have yet to see him live should do so soon. He’s a consummate performer and knows how to entertain people. His ‘thunder in his heart’ is still going strong and hopefully will for several years yet as he walks the trail of pop-life with considerable ease.
Reviewed by: Patrick Moore
Rating out of 5: 5
One Night Only – Season ended