A chill crept down my spine as I stepped in to Bendigo’s Ulumbarra Theatre, where on entrance I was greeted with miniscule cells and iron clad bars. The ghosts of times gone by were evident at every turn, and while they may have suffered in the past they would all be laid to rest tonight with the sounds of Innocence to Understanding filtering through the old Gaol walls.
It was my first time in the Ulumbarra Theatre and will definitely not be the last, the acoustics were amazing, the seats roomy and comfortable, it is a perfect live music venue.
Simply stunning in a magnificent white jumpsuit Tina Arena took to the stage at 8.00pm sharp, the curved stage covered in screens of yesteryear and a tiny Tina singing MacArthur Park during the Young Talent Time days. The duet of old and young was sensational as they sang together in unison the years not separating the brilliance of this dynamic Australian superstar. The beautiful Burn followed and as Heaven Help My Heart rained down the screens changed to beautiful stain glass windows which raised this hit to celestial heights. I Need Your Body had every bopping in their seats, all the hits were flowing as the familiar Sorrento Moon accompanied by some amazing backdrops filled the theatre.
Spectacular costume changes saw 6 outfits over the course of the evening, all breathtakingly elegant, classy, and sometimes quite jaw dropping. Tina Arena is graceful in every way, looking amazing, it really is hard to believe that such a booming voice is delivered from such a petite package. A rousing version of I Want To Know What Love Is followed by I Want To Love You had all swaying in their seats seemingly mesmerised by the sultry songstress. Seeing out the first set was the one we were all waiting for, Chains. The song that started the juggernaut for Tina Arena and millions of record sales with the 1994 album Don’t Ask. While Tina stated she did not have time back then to ‘smell the roses’ she certainly was smelling them now, a testament to her hard work and determination that spans her extensive career in the music industry. Chains was sublime, everything you wanted and then some, I was flooded with nostalgic feelings from younger years as I soaked up this sensational song.
After a short interval Tina returned looking as radiant as when the night had begun, opening with Symphony of Life and You Made Me Find Myself. Full credit must go to the band and backup singers, technically perfect all night, but it was hard to pull your eyes from Tina, she really did demand your attention. It was during Wasn’t It Good that we got to see the band stripped back as they surrounded Tina for a relaxed version of Wasn’t It Good, the cajon a lovely inclusion from the normal drumkit, it worked extremely well.
With a set-list of twenty no one left disappointed, If I Didn’t Love You, Only Lonely, and the gorgeous Now I Can Dance so beautifully performed, I am sure I wasn’t alone in saying I didn’t want it to end. The final song of the night was You Set Fire to My Life, this saw many up on their feet dancing and enjoying every last minute of this fabulous night. It was with heartfelt thanks for the undying support of from her fans and even a hug for one lucky front row lady that Tina left the stage. While the night was over the legacy that is Tina Arena will live on in our hearts forever.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale