Arena casts a spirited spell

CONCERT
Tina Arena
Crown Theatre Perth
Friday, August 15
4 stars
REVIEW SINEAD MCKEOUGH

From opener Let Me In, Tina Arena and her five-piece band kicked off with hardly a pause for breath after an enthusiastic welcome at Crown Theatre Perth.

Pairing a glittering jumpsuit and bare feet, Arena worked her way through several tracks with little more than a nod to the audience.

The performance felt rather too constrained in this almost- mechanical style. Soon, however, a helping of conversation saw the clockwork efficiency lose its edge, instead becoming a mark of keen professionalism.

Songs both known and new filled the set list, each with perfectly met set, lighting and sound cues.

A first-half highlight, Sorrento Moon (I Remember) showcased Arena's spectacular voice in style, the audience in raptures as she crooned the hit before a projected scrolling backdrop.

At the tail end of the heartfelt Still Running, Arena paused to explain her lack of shoes (apparently being frightened by a rat when taking out your rubbish at night can lead to injury), and her new approach to her life and career.

It's "a whole new chapter", she said, exemplified by her most recent album, 2013's platinum- certified Reset.

The momentum was sustained in the second half. Following a brief musical interlude, the songstress returned in a shimmering gown and fed the crowd's appetite for the familiar with a run of older hits, culminating in a spirited rendition of Heaven Help My Heart that had people dancing in the aisles.

So enthusiastic were the audience that the thundering for an encore had begun before the stage was even fully cleared.

Like every other part of the night the encore ran to cued perfection, in a subtle reminder of just how much careful planning was at work.

Arena re-emerged in a small, sheer black dress, belting out two more old favourites before bringing the night to a fitting close with a joyous rendition of You Set Fire to My Life.

Support for the night was in the form of unassuming yet impressive singer-songwriter Alys, who quickly won the audience over with her charming performance.

Alys' enthusiasm for music shone through in both her original material and some choice covers and set the stage well for the show to come.

The West Australian

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