Monday, February 21, 2011

Belinda Carlisle - Live At Rooty Hill RSL

So last night I drove to Rooty Hill RSL to catch one of my favourite divas strut her stuff in concert for the first time. I was originally supposed to see the legendary Belinda Carlisle last weekend and was gutted when those plans fell through. You see, I've loved this woman since I was a child. "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" was one of the first singles I ever bought - I still have the battered 7" vinyl somewhere - and 1989's seminal "Runaway Horses" ranks as one of my favourite albums of all time. But as much as I love for her back catalogue, my expectations were pretty low. After all, she's been pretty much hiding under a rock for the past decade and I feared she could be a little rusty. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. The still gorgeous 52 year old looked and sounded better than ever. She belted out hit after hit to rapturous applause and had the audience hypnotised by her amazing dance moves and stunning command of the tambourine. Put it down to nostalgia if you like but I haven't had that much fun at a gig in a very long time.

Some of my Belinda collection

The show opened with a brilliant projection that I would die to get my hands on. Seriously, that shit was hot. It showed clip after clip from the diva's glory years and basically emphasised her chic, high cheeked beauty and the fact that - at least for a while there in the late 80s - she was right up there with Madonna and Janet as one of pop's leading ladies. When Belinda finally hit the stage to sing "Runaway Horses", it blew my mind to think most of that footage was taken a quarter of a century ago. How has she remained so beautiful while Madonna looks like Gollum in drag? But I digress. "Runaway Horses" was followed by "I Get Weak" - easily one of the pop icon's best singles. Bel sounded absolutely amazing and had every geriatric gay and drunken spinster in the room singing along with her. Next up was her number 11 Australian smash "In Too Deep" - she kindly gave Jenny Morris props for doing the song first - before launching into the hugely underrated "California" from her last English language album "A Man And A Woman". The pop legend then went old school with "Mad About You" (why hasn't anyone covered this gem?) and "Circles In The Sand".

One of the best things about the show was the hit heavy setlist. While some divas of a certain vintage are precious about belting out B-sides from 1993 that only their children and stalkers know, Belinda stuck to songs that actually charted. Which meant basically performing half of her double platinum album "Runaway Horses". She knocked out an exquisite version of "Vision Of You", the gorgeous "La Luna" and her signature tune - in this country - "Summer Rain". I never thought I'd say it but Slinkee Minx could never! From then on the former Go-Go switched gears, focusing on uptempo numbers like 1993's stunning #56 smash "Big Scary Animal", my all time favourite Belinda song "(We Want) The Same Thing" and the seminal 90s classic "Leave A Light On" - before finishing up with her sadly forgotten gay anthem "Live Your Life Be Free". For the encore she dusted off a Go-Go's medley and her biggest hit "Heaven Is A Place On Earth", which really was something akin to a spiritual experience.

If you missed the Belinda experience, never fear. Apparently she is so overwhelmed by the success of her Australian tour that she's already in talks to return next year. I'm going to every show! While we wait for the diva's return, check out this stunning rendition of "Big Scary Animal" from one of her Melbourne dates. Legend.

13 comments:

Diva Incarnate said...

I'm obsessed with her too. Great review.

Anonymous said...

you crack me up!

bomitoni said...

You're obsession and spot on review of Babe's show is further proof that you and I are separated at birth. She is stunning, an amazing performer, and a legend! I love this woman so much! So jealous! She hasn't done a US tour since the early 2000s. I am going to listen to Belinda all day today now!

Deirdre Halliwell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
trash_lurver@yahoo.com.au said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike said...

LOL - I accidentally deleted all the comments. Sorry!

Deirdre, I can't believe she was on a double bill with Tina Turner. That would have been heaven!!!

Alex said...

bomitoni -- The minute she hits these shores for a tour, I would definitely love to see that.

Mike! This is awesome. Runaway Horses is probably my favorite album and I loved La Luna and Summer Rain probably more than the other songs on that album put together. I need to get my cassette out and give it a listen soon.

Belinda is great. :D

Superstar Janet said...

Great review! I saw her at Twin Towns NSW and she was amazing. Like you....my expectations weren't high. But I was blown away. She's still got her great looks and great dance moves and her hair still gets caught in her mouth when she sings. Hope she comes back next year :-) You rock Belinda!

A1 said...

omg!!
i missed her and she was out west!!
damn it damn it damn it!!

Anonymous said...

concert of the year!

michael said...

I went to see her at Selina's and was surprised you weren't there.

I think the projection you are looking for might be this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEcIVIPaLlo

Mike said...

That's it! Thank you x

Nasty G said...

I must confess I was never much of a fan past her GoGo's work, but after reading her awesome autobiography recently I went back to listen to her work. I'm still not a huge fan, but I do appreciate some of the lesser known tracks, and I'd likely see her live. ;)