REVIEW OF TERRI CLARK
CLARK - ADAM HARVEY
COSTA HALL, GEELONG - 30 January 2004
They came from afar as Gippsland and Shipwreck Coast dairy belts to catch
this towering troubadour from Medicine Hat in Canadian province, Alberta.
Clark in concert
Photo by Elvie Browne
Clark may have not been on high rotation on me-too-metropolitan commercial
radio hits and memories mausoleums.
But the enthusiastic be-hatted, front line phalanx of fans knew all
the lyrics to the multi-award winning singer's U.S. chart toppers.
So there was a roar from the crowd when Clark and six-piece band tore
into their turbo tonking from the first riff of the title track of
her fifth album, Pain To Kill.
The Amazonian avatar prowled the stage, brandishing electric guitar,
sabre-like, as she segued into 1996 hit Emotional Girl.
fans with tales of the Geelong gateway billboard urging folks to get horny
and Coogee beach bunnies who sunbaked ''sunnyside up."
The risque Aussie lifestyle was not, she said, a staple of puritanical
U.S. and Canadian land and seascapes.
So she switched to acoustic as she revisited 1995 self- titled debut disc
for If I Were You and When Boy Meets Girl, punctuated by
A Little Gasoline.
That was a tune that had a life of its own on Nu Country FM when deceased
midnight DJ Peter Cresp-Gerrard inadvertently programmed it on repeat
for a famed five-hour stint.
Clark, now 35 and single, bemoaned her desire to make the acquaintance
of a live roo had only been partly sated by road kill surrogacy and a
stuffed on stage roo named Matilda.
It was that sort of show.
was back on electric for recent hit, I Wanna Do It All, and
No Fear - theme song for the 2000 Canadian Special Olympics,
and collaboration with two- time Aussie tourist Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Guitarist Kevin Post, guesting on pedal steel, and fiery fiddler Jenee
Keener, fuelled the roughage on Aussie penned hit, Now That I Found
Clark sat on a stool for an acoustic medley of covers from her teen
era at famed Tootsies Orchid Lounge in shadows of the Ryman - Grand
Ole Opry mother church on Nashville's Lower Broadway.
The female melange included Mama's He's Crazy, Coal Miner's Daughter
and Walking After Midnight by The Judds, Loretta Lynn, and
Photo by Elvie Browne
And the male
medley featured Hank Sr standard Your Cheating Heart, his son Bocephus
tune A Country Boy Can Survive and Rose Coloured Glasses
by singing mortician John Conlee.
There was also a facially contorted rendition George Jones epic, If
Drinking Don't Kill Me Her Memory Will.
Blending of male lead and female choir on John Anderson's Swingin'
was a bonus - her facial contortions a touch of the absurd on the
She followed with a bluesy cover of Love Me Like A Man, designed
to showcase her vocal range.
Clark's interaction ignited the three-guitar attack on I Just Wanna
Be Mad, assertive Better Things To Do and You're Easy On
So did a cowbell-clanging cut of her Warren Zevon penned hit Poor,
Poor Pitiful Me.
But the final encore - refried rock - did little for an audience who may
have preferred more fiddle and pedal steel.
Clark appeared to be latest in a long line of international acts persuaded
to substitute rock covers for original material - because of a misconception
that audiences didn't know their original music.
Sure, you don't hear much of their music in the big smoke but this audience
was weaned on ABC and community radio and TV.
But if they have paid rural petrol prices and almost $50 a ticket it's
a fair chance they want to hear the songs for which the artist is known.
Photo by Elvie Browne
country songs have long been far more stimulating than generic rock
So turbo tonkers Twang Thang, Catch 22, Working Girl
or Was There A Girl On Your Boy's Night Out might have been
a more fitting finale.
Geelong born Gold Guitarist Adam Harvey had the unenviable task
as the solo entree act.
That was despite returning to a genuine hero's welcome after being
the male island in the Sara Storer Gold Guitar winning Tamworth
The young veteran, just 28, proved that his extensive national and
international gigs and overseas writing sojourns have embellished
the best male voice in the Australian country genre.
So did a
high-octane version of Willie Nelson classic Crazy and a new song
penned to his daughter, performed to balance Little Cowboy Dreams
- written for son Conway.
Harvey's well-worn comedy was obviously fresh fodder for much of the audience
but the new jokes were much better value.
It's a hard act opening for an international artist but there's an inherent
danger too much comedy can detract from Harvey's real strength - his natural
charisma, unique vocals and strong original material.
Now, if he reduces the comedy quota and diverts his passion to his stone
country he will earn even more cred and sales.
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