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'The Basement' Sydney Swing Shows

17 December 2006 - Review by Michael Sassella

Wow, what a show David and his talented team of players gave us last night at The Basement in Sydney. From go to whoa he was as pumped as a first grade athlete and brought an exciting touch of a rock sensibility to the succession of swing songs which are now becoming familiar to the fans. Like the best in this field David never sings these songs the same way twice.

We had the benefit of seven in a very strong band the familiar and delightful Serge and Joe on guitar and drums (as David says, "These guys were rock musicians and just look at them now!" Not only do we look at them but we see the obvious pleasure they are getting from the challenges in this music.)

Dave Ellis returned on bass, Michael Tyack on piano and three fresh newcomers on brass, young and exciting players, Steve Fitzmaurice on sax, Ray Caseau (I hope that spelling's right) on trumpet and Mark Barnsley on trombone. I can't recall a larger group behind David in a cabaret venue or even in the WILD WITH STYLE shows at the Opera House.

Even more impressive was the young and incredibly demonstrative packed audience at The Basement. It is clear that THE SWING SESSIONS has crossed the barriers of age and taste in Australia and has at a stroke elevated David's status. It has now sold 100,000 copies in Australia and rising. It is sticking like glue on the ARIA albums chart and was confirmed platinum last week on the ARIANET chart.

The songs last night were:

YOU'RE NOBODY TIL SOMEBODY LOVES YOU
CALL ME IRRESPONSIBLE
PLENTY OF MONEY AND YOU
CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU (and thank you to Steve, Ray and Mark for the brass here, and to Amanda Davis for here skilful backing vocals)
ALL THE WAY (just lovely)
LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (the first of several nods to Sammy Davis Jr)
BIRTH OF THE BLUES (preceded by some blues stylings by Amanda and a piece of terrific blues guitar from Serge)
THE WATERS OF MARCH (where Serge and Joe excel, as they did at the Opera House, with their delicate bossa nova guitar and percussion [David also doing some percussion too] a pleasure was to see Michael Tyack sit this one out and watch proceedings with the widest Cheshire cat smile imaginable a genuine highlight of the show, this number)
SING! SING! SING! (not the SHOUT!/Johnny O'Keefe song but the big band classic played with incendiary effect (hats off especially to the brassmen or The Brasshoppers as David called them) by the band while David changed costume)
COME FLY WITH ME (where David rejoined us in a white three-piece suit with red shirt and classy tie he'd worn basic black and white in the first half)
BEYOND THE SEA
MR BOJANGLES (done even more effectively than usual)
MACK THE KNIFE
JUST A GIGOLO/I AIN'T GOT NOBODY (apparently earmarked for the next CD yes, it seems there'll be another one rather sooner than the nine years we awaited the current one! this was an extended performance with great fun)

Then came three specials that hadn't been planned.

First was a reconstruction of BEGIN THE BEGUINE which turned it into a song by vocalist backed only by Joe on drums. This was a standout, showing just how consummate David and Joe are as musicians.

Next was VIVA LAS VEGAS, a touch of the pop-rock David does so well.

Then came SHOUT! because of audience demand. As expected, this was a full rock workout.

Finally we were treated with a sincere rendition of THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT.

This was one more absolutely memorable and rewarding show from David whose every show is an event. However, the band more than did him proud, AND close to equaled the tremendous band work on the album where there was a full orchestra.

David says he's going to take a version of the show on the road. Even a return to the USA was suggested.

Let's hope David and Lisa have a deserved holiday season that meets all their wishes and a 2007 at least as fine as 2006 has been.

I have photos from the show but have not worked out how to attach them yet. They will follow.

Michael S
Sydney