As the old adage goes, good things come to those who wait. When The Avalanches are involved, sensational things come to those who wait.
The ten-month wait to see the Illuminate Adelaide 2021 Luminary Artists in Residence may have been lengthy, but the end product was everything and more. But before we could enjoy them, Electric Fields took us on a journey of musical splendour.
Despite having only two people on an expansive stage, Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross’ presence filled the Entertainment Centre. Dressed in matching silver outfits – Fielding in a stunning off the shoulder gown – they traversed through an enigmatic seven song set including Pukulpa, Shade Away, Lore Woman, and Don’t You Worry.
Singing in Pitjantjatjara and English, Electric Fields connected cultures and identities with their music in a fluid unification of pop and electronica. Fielding’s distinctive vocals paired with Ross’ production against the backdrop of a sensational light show (which was on point all night) garnered magic.
Electric Fields are nonpareil in contemporary Australian dance music, radiating charisma and oozing talent. Their short and sweet set was the ideal appetiser for the evening’s main course.
Twenty-one years after the release of their seminal debut album, Since I Left You, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi, in collaboration with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and conductor Nicholas Buc, created an arresting experience for Adelaide/ Tarntanya. For one night only, as part of Illuminate Adelaide, a celebration of innovation, art, light, music, and technology, Since I Left You was performed in full and restrung.
The introduction of live orchestral arrangements saw the critically acclaimed album reach dizzying new heights.
As the ASO led Avalanches Overture played, the audience cheered at the first sprinkling of The Avalanches. When Chater and Di Blasi came on stage as Since I Left You (the single) began, the cheering amplified. So began an odyssey through time, technology, and music. What followed was an artistically exquisite experience. An all-encompassing aural and visual spectacular.
Since I Left You was an album suited to orchestral accompaniment. Its carefully formulated consolidation of over 3,500 vinyl samples allowed musical enrichment without detracting from its meaning or underpinning intentions. Add to this superior lighting production and technological enhancements from projectors, the rebirth of something already so dear to so many people was witnessed.
As The Avalanches and ASO moved through song after song, we were mesmerised by what we witnessed. From the cacophonous Radio, the fleeting Avalanche Rock, and the trancey A Different Feeling, which bathed the Entertainment Centre in cool, purple hues, the disparity of flow was balanced. Buc ensured the violins and harp were highlighted in Electricity, the flute in crowd favourite Frontier Psychiatrist, and the funky 70s vibe of Live At Dominoes was complemented by the ASO.
As Extra Kings brought the album and performance to a conclusion, a deserved standing ovation was afforded.
The Avalanches Since I Left You with ASO was a joyously enriching experience of musical wonderment. It may have taken nearly a year to get here, but the wait was worth it.
Live Review By Anita Kertes