It was an unseasonably balmy, autumnal evening in the City of Churches and the temperature rose as Clare Bowditch took to The Workshop stage for her only performance of the 2020 Adelaide Festival on Wednesday 11 March.
Bowditch, ARIA award-winning musician, actor, author, broadcaster, speaker and all-round badass woman, took to the stage in a flowy white and black striped dress; her flaming red hair as wild as her exuberance. With her five-piece band—Andre Warhurst on guitar, Warren Bloomer on bass, Cameron Fallow on keys, hubby Martin Brown on drums and the equally badass Xani Kolac on violin—Bowditch opened her set with You Look So Good. The sold-out crowd were instantaneously receptive, dancing, clapping and cheering, something that would continue for the duration of the ninety-minute performance.
With the main set spanning twelve songs, Bowditch traversed through old and new intermixing tales that were equally hilarious as they were sincere. From telling us she was mistaken for Florence Welch at Splendour in the Grass – Person: Would you like a wine, Florence? Bowditch: Yes – she launched into Divorcee By 23, If I Could Give You, One Little River and fan favourite You Make Me Happy.
After kicking her band off stage and insisting the “big phones” be put away, Bowditch, guitar in hand, mesmerised all with Amazing Life. What Do You Want followed, then a stellar version of Crowded House’s Fall At Your Feet containing a breathtakingly emotive and passion-fuelled violin solo by Kolac.
A duet with Fallow for Your Own Kind of Girl, also the title of her memoir, was a candid insight into Bowditch’s innermost thoughts expressed via her trademark direct songwriting. The raw emotion continued with Strange Questions. “Won’t you love me like you did before?” warbled Bowditch with a gut-wrenching sentiment in a highlight of the evening. Wrapping up the main set was Let’s Go To Bed, The Start of War and latest single Woman.
Although Bowditch had already played overtime thanks to her carefree banter with the crowd, she insisted on giving an encore. A cover of Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You out of My Head had everyone singing and dancing in merriment and concluded a sensational evening from one of Australia’s greatest talents on a delightful high.
And to the guy behind me with the baritone voice enthusiastically singing Kylie’s “la la la la la la la la…” Sir, I raise my glass to you and thank you for the LOLs.
Adelaide Festival Review By Anita Kertes