Winter secrets bring a winter sparkle to Sydney.

You know when you are so excited for something that you almost dread it happening for fear of it not living up to your high expectations?

That was what was going through my mind last week as I prepared to see the amazingly talented Clare Bowditch for the first time. I first saw Clare on a television Christmas special singing with Tex Perkins, and was taken by this beautiful redhead with the most beautiful voice. It didn’t take me long to have a listen to her music, and ever since then I have followed her with great interest. Over the years she has not only released great music but has also managed to squeeze in various television appearances discussing everything from the arts to politics, has interviewed then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, launched the Big Hearted Business initiative to pool resources which unite businesses with creative types, while also being a Mum to her three children.

She doesn’t do things by halves, does she?

So when, a few years ago, Clare went on the road with her Winter Secrets tour, I was intrigued. The idea was to take along another female artist who was also a friend, and as Clare herself explains it, to remove the fourth wall between the artist on stage and the audience. Somehow I never managed to get along, but when I saw this years tour announcement in which the guest coming along was none other than Adalita, I knew I would move heaven and earth to make it.

I’ve seen Adalita perform many times, but knowing that she is great friends with Clare meant that I had a feeling that the audience were in for a real treat. And as they played Adelaide, Melbourne, and Hobart, the comments all over social media made it clear that I was right. So as the day approached I naturally began to get a bit nervy that I was hoping for too much. I took along a 2007 copy of Australian Musician magazine which featured both Clare and Adalita on the cover with a small hope of getting it signed. {I wasn’t optimistic simply because I knew that the venue itself meant little chance of bumping into either one of them}. So armed with my magazine and a marker, and properly bundled up to face the chilly Winter night, off we went.

We arrived about midway through the opening set by The Twoks, who seemed to be doing a nice job getting the crowd into a fun mood with their uniquely upbeat tunes. I gave my husband my usual disclaimer of, “you know I have to go up the front for Ads, right?”, and we began picking our way through the filling crowd. The stage itself sported a whole different look from what I was used to, especially considering that the last time I was at this particular venue it was for a sonic bludgeoning about the head by Future Of The Left. Instead there were a couple of small tables covered with tablecloths and scarves, small {electric} tea lights bordered the stage and steps, and there were five extra mic stands behind the main two up front. Adalita walked on stage, tuned up, walked off, came back, fiddled with a few things, and when the music track was turned down we were off.

She played a mix of songs from both of her solo albums, with Hot Air from her self titled debut an obvious crowd hit. She also gave us a treat when she played a new song called Savage Heart, which was, naturally, excellent. And it was when that song finished and she went to introduce the next song that my night went from “I’m so looking forward to tonight” to “OH MY GOD THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST GIGS EVER!”. It went something like this:

Adalita: “This next song is for Ana,”

I turn to look at my husband like, no f***ing way.

Adalita: “Ana…A-n-a, Ana where are you?” {yes she even spelled my name}.

I raise my hand somewhat stupidly, clearly in shock.

Adalita: {Smiling} “This next song is called Equations, and it’s for you. But don’t take it literally” {laughs}.

I smile and go to blow her a kiss but end up doing some vague Hunger Games salute.

And from there the night just got better and better. Clare soon took to the stage, and it was clear within a few minutes that we were going to have fun. She didn’t stop smiling the whole time, coached the crowd to sing back up on one song, as well as getting everyone prepped to sing Lean On Me at random points through the night. There was an absolutely amazing rendition of her song One Little River by previous competition winner Kate Meadley, and we were also treated to Bad Bitch Choir singing Clare’s song I Thought You Were God. A stand out for me was hearing Clare perform one of my favourite songs, Amazing Life and hearing the story behind it, which began when she sat down to write the song at the age of nineteen after seeing Jeff Buckley. There was interpretive dance complete with flowing scarves, a duet on another new Adalita song, Dazzling, and a final dance and singalong to Pump Up The Jam, in which lyrics were held up on large cardboard sheets while Clare and Adalita each rocked a particularly fetching pair of giant blinged up sunnies. And let’s not forget when the crowd was instructed to turn to a person next to them that they didn’t know, introduce themselves, and tell each other what they had wanted to be when they were kids. {Slightly awkward but very much in the spirit of the night}. Peppered throughout it all were Clare’s beautiful songs, lots of conversation and banter {which I love}, and her amazing voice, which warmed up every trace of the Winter cold. I could have happily listened to Clare sing many more songs, but all too quickly, the night came to an end.

There were big smiles as people left the venue, and even though I tried to hang around to get my magazine signed we were eventually herded out so the clean up could begin. And with a fair drive home and sleeping kids to get back to, I was happy to call it a night. I left with a better understanding of exactly why you only hear such positive things about Clare Bowditch, both the person as well as her talent. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone so professional yet so warm and engaging, someone so full of genuine joy and creativity willing to have so much fun up on stage.

If you get a chance to get along to one of these shows {though I think there’s only one show left in Brisbane}, don’t hesitate. It was definitely a night to remember.

Til next time here’s what Clare herself described as, “the closest to a hit I’m ever going to have”, You Make Me Happy. She’s too humble though, because she’s a fucking star.

9 Thoughts

  1. Sounds like a rare & amazing live artist, so engaging and happy to play. Nobody like her description comes to my mind.
    Those chilly winter nights aren’t the most comfortable but I read that part & felt a twinge of envy, I just can’t wait for that weather! I can imagine getting ready in winter clothes, stepping into the cold, seeing my breath rise, warming up the car, and speed waking to the venue, rubbing my hands together inside and ordering a drink. I wonder if Clare will ever come over here.
    The video hates me and isn’t “available in your country” but I’ll hunt around for that particular one online, I’m intrigued!

    and the song dedication is beyond cool.

    1. Omg you got it perfect. The brisk walk from the car, beanie and scarf on, ordering a drink. I hope she goes your overseas but I don’t know if it’s likely, which is a shame. She’s awesome regardless.

          1. Oh yeah, that is probably true=( I guess I’m lucky to not know what I’m missing most of the time tho but I could deal with Adalita coming over.

            & I meant to say “YES YES YES” to dreading a thing ( a show actually) in case it didn’t meet my expectations or something went wrong.

            I found a video from one of the Adalita/Clare shows & it was just as you described & like nothing I’ve seen, the dancers on stage, the flowy-ness!

  2. That is just soo awesome! I saw Clare at ProBlogger and she BLEW MY MIND! And I actually heard her interviewed on ABC radio a few weeks ago and learned about her new style of concert. She’s quite the woman! How cool you got a shout out! x

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