The shows just get better and better when Markus Hamence Presents continues to bring the stars to The Regal Theatre. Saturday night’s show was a special treat; Australia’s own diva Paulini served up all the great hits of the American divas. Another treat was support act Ashton Fraser. Strumming a guitar, creating loops and singing like he’d been doing this music thing for years! The way he worked the stage and with his rock star energy you could never guess he was just seventeen. Fraser owned it and he’s definitely a local boy that may not be local for long.
What can I say about the main attraction Paulini? As she reminded us it’s been twenty years since Australian Idol. Can you believe it? Twenty years! Not only hasn’t she aged a bit, her voice is just as powerful if not better than her Idol days. Telling us that Adelaide is the first to see this show and how much she loves Adelaide recently being here for the Fringe, how lucky are we? Beginning her set with the Whitney Houston version of Dolly Parton’s hit I Will Always Love You it set the tone for big hits, strong vocals and that Paulini charm.
It’s always a risk to take on the hits of the great singers. You better deliver on the vocals and the essence of the songs but it was no problem for Paulini who’s got the goods. Giving us her spin on the classics with the audience lapping it up in spades, clapping, cheering and singing along. Taking on songs from Streisand, Cher, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Etta James, Donna Summer, Bette Midler, Tina Turner and even a Madonna track thrown in for good measure!
Whether its pop, rock, disco or a ballad, Paulini can slow down the tempo or speed it up with such ease as she brought the audience along for the ride belting out Madonna’s Like a Prayer, Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath my Wings, Etta James At Last, Aretha Franklin’s Freeway Of Love and Streisand’s Somewhere all in the first half of the show.
For the second half and a costume change with more glitter and shine it was more of the same brilliance with the 1967 Motown hit Ain’t No Mountain High Enough before really showing her vocal prowess on the hots from Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer No More Tears (Enough is Enough), Celine Dion It’s All Coming Back to Me Now to then winning over the audience with her slower ballad version of Cher’s Believe.
The turning point for the night was Donna Summers hit MacArthur Park when the audience got up on their feet dancing like the night was never going to end. But alas it was nearing the end much to everyone’s disappointment with Tina Turner’s Proud Mary being the last song. The crowd was so pumped they were yelling for more when Paulini came back on to do a quick selfie with us all.
Paulini is the ultimate entertainer; voice of an angel, disco diva and Motown soul all rolled into one wowing us song by song.
Live Review By Anastasia Lambis