Delta Goodrem, Sheppard @ Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide 25/3/2022

She’s been Australia’s much loved powerhouse chanteuse for over 20 years and her latest Bridge over Troubled Dreams arena spectacular reminded us why. Friday night’s show marked the halfway point for Delta Goodrem’s 10 date tour, thrilling audiences across the nation. And Adelaide was just as impressed with her heart-felt ballads and energetic pop rock numbers.

A group of gospel-dressed singers and a dexterous Andre Rieu-like violinist started the show, heralding Delta’s entrance with The Power. This energetic number is one of the hits from her latest album, Bridge over Troubled Dreams, also the namesake of this tour. Without losing a beat, Lost Without You followed the opening song, highlighting how far Delta has come since this song was released back in 2002.

Demonstrating a maturity in her voice, the depth and resonance with which our Delta belted out the chorus, was as compelling as any one’s voice in the vocal trinity of Celine, Mariah, or Whitney. What Delta has that sets her apart from these three is her virtuoso-like piano playing. Here is a musician in the prime of her talents –the overture of violin and piano for the song Billionaire exemplified this, with the musical repartee between Delta and her violinist had the audience feeling like they were part of a special musical conversation between the two.

Then the mood became quite country and western with some rollicking choreography with Delta and her backup singers, followed by more western feels in The River. Delta had the audience eating out of the palms of her hands with the power ballad Crash and then In This Life interspersing her songs with chats to the audience and warmly empowering messages of staying present in the moment and having “so much love” to give. Keep Climbing, a beautifully moving reflection of her journey, was set to a video montage of her career to date. Covers and tributes to some musical greats such as Elton John, Queen, Men at Work, Olivia Newton-John, and Destiny’s child were included to paint a picture of some of the influences on ours and Delta’s worlds. Some songs were very deftly mashed with some of Delta’s own hits such as Not Me Not I and Dear Elton. Poignant reminders that the tour had been deferred by two years were reflected in the images of empty streets during the pandemic accompanying the Queen cover of The Show Must Go On.

Delta’s introduction to each member of her band was one of the most entertaining and affectionate I have ever seen, with every musician shining as they showed off their consummate talent. Special accolades to the amazing violinist Kieran Ledwidge who held his own as an integral part of the show itself, and to Matthew Copley and others for such intelligent musical direction and arrangements. The musical direction celebrated the talents and uniqueness of each instrument and performer, illustrated adeptly through the arrangements for the violin. Too often, a string section is included in a live performance as token backup and filler. But not with Delta’s production.

For me, my favourite part of the show could perhaps be called the “Bridge” between two passages of music, when Delta sat down with boyfriend Matthew Copley and an acoustic guitar to reminisce about the Bunker Down sessions they held at the height of the pandemic. The light and shade evoked in these intimate times were equally special and evoked high emotion in songs All of My Friends, Longer, and of course Hopelessly Devoted To You.

Bringing it home for a grand finale, the rousing rendition of Together We Are One gave me literal goosebumps on my arms! I was empowered with Enough, bedazzled by Delta’s soprano range in Welcome To Earth and Believe Again, and Paralyzed had myself and others around me in tears. The delivery of this song, about Delta’s struggle to learn to speak again, was sophisticated, restrained, and humble. It spoke volumes about Delta’s strength without having to be overt. Almost Here welcomed George Sheppard back for a duet devoted to Delta’s and George’s respective mums.

Looking like she was straight off a Victoria Secrets runway, Delta’s costume change for Wings was fitting for the final song. A couple of encores later, and we all left, feeling invigorated and satisfied that such talent had been worth the two-year wait. If there were any drawbacks to the show, the set with its keyboard-rimmed staircase didn’t quite match the sophistication of the performance, and Delta’s first costume was at odds with the rest of the beautiful costume changes (however the silver jumpsuit made up for the first).

Supported by Sheppard, superstars in their own right, these siblings from Brisbane started the party in fine form with hits such as the patriotic anthem showing off their love for Australia and hometown Brisbane, Coming Home, and new songs Symphony (which was so uplifting, written for George’s girlfriend), Die Young, and Learning to Fly. Culminating their set with the Geronimo, it was bombs away for this platinum-selling group. Ably having supported Robbie Williams, Justin Bieber, and now our own Delta, Sheppard certainly held their own with their resounding voices.

Overall, this was an event that celebrated everything Australia has needed to revive in recent years – hope, strength, happiness, soul-searching, and live exceptional home-grown talent. It’s time to forget about the devastation caused by that other Delta, and all worship Goddess Goodrem for bringing back live arena productions with triumph.

Live Review Kim Burley

Photo Credit: Marla Altschuler

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