WAIFS CONCERT REVIEW - THE FORUM THEATRE - 2 OCTOBER 2007
was not just primal passion but the tempestuousness and timing that
caught the eye and ear.
The Waifs were reaching the climax of their grand maternal eulogy
Bridal Train when a slender blonde thrust her tongue into the
gaping mouth of her precocious female pal.
It was way back in the bleachers, on the left aisle, and under the
stony gaze of a mute male statue guarding the long vacated bar.
And, of course, in clear view of bemused spectators in a near capacity
crowd soaking up the merriment of a group celebrating 15 years of
The Waifs are not just masters & mistresses of cross genre fans
but also same gender persuasion.
Vikki Thorn, nee Simpson's tale of grandma eloping on a slow post
World War 11 train from Perth to Sydney to sail to California to her
American sailor husband may have been saved for song #11.
But it struck
a chord with the vast audience who sang along and the passionate pair
of land-locked lips for 4 minutes 21 seconds of aural or oral bliss.
It's a credit the much loved group, swollen to a sextet on this tour,
provided so much musical solace to sweet young thangs and older pals who
haven't found the right man yet.
The Waifs are not your stereotypical country-folk-rock combo - they again
proved as entertaining live as on CD and DVD.
They opened with fifth album entrée song Pony and galloped
through a 21-song set to encore finale London Still with timely
Salient sequencing enabled the band to punctuate new album favourites
such as Josh Cunningham's evocative Eternity and his rollicking
How Many Miles with Thorn's title track Sundirtwater and
older songs - Donna Simpson's videogenic Highway One and Josh's
The sisters' patter, unlike some peers, never seems contrived - not even
newly wed Donna's intro to a song for an ex-boyfriend - Love Let Me
Down - or Take It In.
The latter was preceded by a nod to Victorian violinist Jen Anderson to
illustrate a return to the scene of the rhyme - Cable Beach, Broome -
where The Waifs journey began when the sisters met their co-founder Cunningham.
Equally charming was their self-deprecatory comparison to The Seekers
during skiffle driven revamp of English born yodelling ARIA Hall of Fame
inductee Frank Ifield's I Remember You.
The trio dismissed the band and performed it an acoustic mode, replete
with ukulele and harmonica, in the vein of their recent touring companion
Keith Urban and Dixie Chicks.
It was a fitting tribute to the 1962 smash hit by twice wed Ifield, born
in Coventry, England on November 30, 1937, but transported here by his
Australian born parents in 1946.
By then it was nostalgia time for Bridal Train singalong, Lighthouse
and new songs Lies, Stay and Goodbye.
The sisters' autobiographical Fisherman's Daughter enabled Thorn
to do an a capella gospel tribute to the sisters' grandfather, then another
rollicking train song and slice of the Sierra Nevada with an acoustic
rendition of Cunningham's new disc finale Feeling Sentimental.
Like most Waifs concerts they finished on a high with the uplifting London
Still - by then the Bridal Train cameo combatants were out of breath.
Also buried deep in the nocturnal memory bank was support act Abby Dobson
whose voice suffered a muffled mix akin to an abandoned bride.
It was not the fate shared by The Waifs when they opened for expatriate
Australasian country superstar Keith Urban at the Yarra bank tennis courts
earlier in the year.
The night may still have been young by dance droogs' body clocks.
But we headed for the street named after Lincolnshire doctor's son Matthew
Flinders who first landed on the eastern shores of Van Diemens Land in
1791 before finding another island or two further north on his sea travels
after learning the trade as a roadie to the infamous, mutinous Captain
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