ARCHIE ROACH + TIDDAS – Dancing With My Spirit

ACF 2018  – Dunstan Playhouse  –  Friday 22nd June


Touring together for Archie + Tiddasthe first time in around 17 years Archie Roach and Tiddas  came back together to perform “Dancing With My Spirit” their newly released album.   Back in the 1990s  Archie and the trio of Lou Bennet, Sally Dastey and Amy Saunders a.k.a Tiddas, recorded demos produced by Jen Andersen.  Reviving those demos is what led to Archie and Tiddas releasing the new album and touring Australia this year.   Everyone is a little older and much water has passed under the bridge since  those times.

Tiddas disbanded in 2000 and Archie’s career continued with many other collaborations, becoming the elder statesman of Indigenous performers, engendering both admiration and reverence from every corner.

Archie suffered some very serious health problems in recent years including a stroke followed by a lung cancer diagnosis affecting his ability to perform and sing.   This night, he at times showed some shortness of breath and was a bit tentative in his movement.  All the more impressive that he performed for almost 80 minutes and once he had warmed up he was belting out songs like a man twenty years his junior in that inimitable, warm, resonant voice that tells you Archie hasn’t left building.

TIDDASTiddas were in good spirits and good form, backing Archie, then weaving their lovely voices around his and eventually reviving Tiddas original configuration of  a talented, stylish, irreverent female trio.  Their rendition of “Anthem” totally rocked and the audience were enthralled,  eventually joining in with an extraordinary version of “Wild Mountain Thyme”   And yes, I  too was singing along  at the top of my voice, along with 80% of the audience.

The Dunstan Playhouse was packed to the rafters for this rare re-union.   PeArchie Roach 2018rforming for just the two nights in Adelaide this was one of their best in the tour so far.   It is unlikely we will ever be graced with these artists performing live together again. I hope I am wrong.  But I wasn’t taking any chances and judging by the turnout for this gig neither was anyone else.   The whole show is produced beautifully by Jen Andersen who accompanies on a plethora of instruments along with a well appointed guitar and rhythm section.     This includes Keyboardist Bruce Haymes,   Archie Cuthbertson, the original percussionist from those demos and guitarist Craig Pilkington . Roach credits Anderson and Pilkington as being pivotal to the remastering of Dancing With My Spirit.  When Archie Roach and Tiddas perform  it is like visiting  old friends around the campfire telling yarns and singing songs we all know by heart.   And heart is just what Archie Roach and Tiddas are really all about.   It’s music for the heart that warms the soul and gets us up and Dancing with the Spirit.

Remarkable        .5K

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