As the final notes of Seventeen are played out to a boisterous and intimate Adelaide crowd, it’s been as clear as day to see why Kip Winger has endured throughout the years. Whether it’s cutting his teeth with Alice Cooper, his own successful bands or even his own musicals, this is a performer and entertainer who goes all out to make a show special.
The issues in Melbourne leading up to this show are well documented elsewhere however Winger stayed true and made the jaunt over to Adelaide for acoustic solo show. What he created last night was a special, vibrant and interactive show.
Armed with just an acoustic guitar, a powerful voice and those looks that still have a twinkle in the eyes, Kip Winger has lost none of the rock star prowess from his early years.
Backed by percussionist Robby Rothschild who provides the bongo beat Kashmir infused rhythms, Winger makes his stadium rock songs translate to cosy acoustic setting seamlessly. The classic Easy Come Easy Go sounds almost electric, as we all gather round and get lost in his story telling as he breaks mid song to tell us about a trip to Glenelg that day.
By the time Can’t Get Enuff is dealt out with it blues rock ambience, the shy audience has erupted into song surprising Winger as they lead bridge vocals before being requested. This prompts Winger to stop and applaud stating that this Adelaide crowd is the first time anyone has done that in his career.
One particular audience member is then advised they will be brought up on stage later to perform a duet with Winger and when the emotive Miles Away is performed, Winger is true to his word as the duet is performed with the fan more than holding his own through the beautiful melodies.
Winger shows his versatility and he jumps on the piano for Pages And Pages and despite acknowledging he ‘fucked it up’, no one cares as we all enjoy the magic that is a onetime situation. He then breaks ranks from the set list and shows his exceptional vocal range performing a song from his musical Get Jack – about Jack The Ripper – which is nothing short of spellbinding.
It’s this acoustic setting that the strength of the performing and songs shows. There is no need for big drums and loud guitars, the subtlety, softness and power of these songs is still very much evident on Headed For A Heartbreak has everyone joining in with the vocals.
When an audience member shouts out to play Under One Condition, Winger responds with ‘that’s a deep cut’ and suitably impressed plays the life out of it to an astounded audience before straight into Madalaine and Seventeen.
Which brings us back to the beginning. We have just witnessed ninety minutes of some of the greatest and underrated rock songs of an era being played up close and personal. This by a genuine performer and entertainer. One that made us laugh, one that made us feel emotions and one that still rocks hard regardless of instrument.
Live Review By Iain McCallum