I have been a longterm fan of everything swing music, even predating the hit juggernaut that is the fabulous Michael Buble. So I expected to be in for an absolute treat when the original Man from Snowy River, Tom Burlinson, brought his tribute show ‘Now We’re Swinging’ to the 2013 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Technically, the show was impeccable. Flawlessly performing standards from the Great American Songbook including favourites such as ‘Feeling Good’, ‘Got You (Under My Skin)’, ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘Sway’, Burlinson took the audience on a musical lecture describing the origins of swing music, the rise, fall and rise again of superstars such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and then the genesis of the ‘new’ Kings of Swing Harry Connick Junior and of course the divine Buble.
The only problem was that the whole show felt slightly – well, cheesy. It wasn’t the music (which I love), it wasn’t the ability of Burlinson to vocalise it…. it was something indefinable about the whole performance which made it feel a tiny bit as though I was attending a performance in a nursing home or on a cruise ship. There was just a touch too make fakery in the smile, a touch too much wiggle in the hips, to make this show a true success.
If you are a fan of swing, this is a show worth watching. But if you’re not – pick something else from the line-up.