Kate Miller-Heidke, Didirri @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 16/7/2022

As a winter chill descended upon Adelaide/ Tarntanya, the warmth rose within Thebarton Theatre as we waited for Kate Miller-Heidke to take to the stage.

Singer-songwriter Didirri started the evening and wowed. His five-song set may have been brief, but it was rich with meaning and capability. With just a guitar, keyboard and voice, he oozed talent while being devoid of ego. Songs including, Begin Again, Blind You, and Raw Stuff showed vulnerability, humour, and personality. Touted as producing music for lovers and overthinkers, Didirri’s performance won over a legion of new fans.

If Didirri warmed up the audience, Kate Miller-Heidke set us on fire.

With guitarist Keir Nuttall (also her husband), she opened with A Quiet Voice. A gentle introduction for a striking voice. As Isaac Hayward (cello, keyboard) joined, the trio delved into the title track from her 2014 album. O Vertigo! O wow! Across two songs, the classically trained singer veered from ethereal to poperatic, highlighting her comprehensive range. This range was evident throughout the show via fashioned ebbs and flows of intensity that allowed us to experience the full scope of artistry.

As Sam Pankhurst (guitar, double bass) and Jess Hitchcock (vocals) appeared on stage, Miller-Heidke championed a trio of songs from Child in Reverse (2020). Born Lucky, Little Roots, Little Shoots, and You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore captured the elegance of strings, the lusciousness of vocals and the gregarious lyrics.

One highlight of many from the night was Humiliation. It was immaculately curated with concentrated red lighting encapsulating the magnitude of the music and lyrics. It revealed the extent of everyone’s talent, not just Miller-Heidke. With stunning solos from Nuttall and Hudson, and Miller-Heidke’s peculiar use of a looper, the overall product was nothing short spectacular.

Didirri returned to the stage for Share Your Air, with another block from Child in Reverse following. People Pleaser and the popular Deluded highlighted the quirkiness of Miller-Heidke’s style and had many eagerly singing along.

In an unexpected but delightful turn of events, audience member Ella came on stage. Her mother had contacted Miller-Heidke to request she perform. Perform she did, with unbridled enthusiasm. With Miller-Heidke on keys and backing vocals, Ella smashed Caught in the Crowd and added a pretty awesome experience to her resume.

Can’t Shake It continued the light-hearted, upbeat vibe. While the audience requested I’m Growing a Beard Downstairs for Christmas brought a comedic element to the show.

Another show highlight, Sarah, brought the intensity back. Miller-Heidke has a remarkable talent for manufacturing depth from simplicity. Sarah’s lyrics are simple. When they fuse with an instrumental and lighting composition and delicate vocals, the story conveyed is emotionally fraught. By the time she sang, ‘And then a fortnight later/ Sarah knocked upon their door/ Her mother asked her, “Where’ve you been?”/ And she said, “I don’t know”‘ the prickly heat of tears threatened to spill from my and many others’ eyes.

Hitchcock, an undeniable talent in her own right, paired with Miller-Heidke in Amazing. The song from Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, in which Miller-Heidke and Nuttall wrote the music and lyrics, saw her take the lead as ‘Muriel’. It was a fun little number that, thanks to Miller-Heidke, was extra amusing as she stuffed up the lyrics resulting in a reset.

The final three songs of the main set were nothing short of sublime. A cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights followed by The Last Day on Earth. You could hear a pin drop throughout both. The music was transfixing. Then, Words from 2007’s Little Eve brought the Drama with a capital ‘D’. Seamlessly transitioning into The Rolling Stones Paint it Black and back to Words, it was a jaw-dropping performance worthy of the standing ovation it received.

The encore stemmed from another request; Space They Cannot Touch. And, of course, the epic poperatic Eurovision entry, Zero Gravity, which generated a second standing ovation.

Kate Miller-Heidke is an artist of many talents. She has stamped her mark across the global stage thanks to her unique brand of music. However, where she shines is through her live performances. She must be seen to be believed because written reviews do not do her justice.

Live Review By Anita Kertes

%d bloggers like this: