RAW: Cabaret Festival – Leo Sayer – 4.5K

The little Englishman, now happily resident in Sydney, was in great form on the first of four nights at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Opening with More Than I Can Say and wearing a black glitter jacket over a black and white checked shirt, Sayer gave a first class display of what the ultimate entertainer is all about.

He just loves to perform and his audience quickly senses that and responds accordingly. But more than that, here was a man, now in his sixties, as fresh with his steps and his almost adolescent humour, as he seemed in his heyday of at least 30 years ago, albeit a little tubbier and with less of those distinctive curls than then.

His music has lost none of its zest with those great dance tunes attracting an audience of not only those keen to travel back in time but also newer generations of fans that gyrated to his music through their various revivals in the 1990s and 2000s.

Unlike many performers who give lip service to the town they are playing in, Sayer dared to recall his first concert in Adelaide in 1973 at the Apollo Stadium and informed and amused with other local tidbits along the way.

Pressing out the hits in the time allowed to him, the gems were Long Tall Glasses and Have You Ever Been In Love. The members of his six piece band were all on song as well, with Ross Middleton’s sax work a highlight.

At times, the backing music perhaps tended to homogenise those commercial sounds we all remember – perhaps the show had done a few too many performances at Sydney leagues clubs – and it was also difficult at various moments to square this buzzing ball of energy with his Pierrot the clown days singing the laments of the struggling artist and boy looking for love and recognition as well as food. But, hell, that wasn’t going stop Leo doing what he has always done – perform to deliver maximum enjoyment to his audience and himself.

Of the 70s pop stars wheeled out by David Campbell for this Cabaret Festival, for mine Sayer gets the nod as the best, ONJ included.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

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