Spending a Friday night with Melissa Etheridge is like having a passionate, steamy affair. It lasted 2 1/2 hours but left a hugely memorable impression.
Emotionally intense, sexy, uplifting, enthralling and so human, with a catalogue of hits at her disposal Etheridge proved that rock - and love - isn't only for the young.
It has been 16 years since the American musician last played in Perth. With her fans ageing right along with the 51-year-old, they were right there from the opening guitar lines through to two rapturous standing ovations.
Etheridge, complete with a killer smile, is a consummate performer; a shining example of how craft, integrity and years of honing her skills add up to a show which is equal measures fun and spiralling energy. Testament to her skills, she didn't need a fancy stage or backdrop. A collection of kick-arse guitars and a three-piece band which rocked were enough.
A mum, partner, friend, cancer survivor and musician who laughingly says we probably shouldn't be looking to her for advice, freely offered Melissa's guide to living joyfully with her constant banter.
Emotions constantly flashed across her face as she dove wholeheartedly into intense and driving songs including Like the Way I Do. She looked like she was having as much of a ball as the audience.
The set was a best-of with one new track, Falling Up, from her coming album. It hints at an interesting and intriguing musical shift for the commercial rock performer and pays tribute to her Kansas roots.
From opening with Fearless Love and diving back to the 1988 hit Chrome Plated Heart, the songs are strewn with strength and passion. So many of Etheridge's songs rip her heart and emotions wide open as she declares her love and longings. It's that strength which makes both her songs and the accompanying performance so happily intense.
Bring Me Some Water, Come to My Window, No Souvenirs and Similar Features crackled with an energy which had the crowd singing along, dancing and snuggling up.
Amid all that, it's easy to think of Etheridge as simply a singer of emotionally dense rock tunes, but watching her play guitar was as exciting as hearing a catalogue of hits dating back to the late 80s. There are plenty of axe gods around but not nearly enough axe goddesses. Etheridge is one of them.