Review: DIONNE WARWICK - Star Event Centre Sydney

I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend a Thursday night in Sydney than in the company of such a classy and iconic lady, the phenomenal Ms Dionne Warwick. Being a multi Grammy award winning artist, who just happens to have sold over 100 million albums over a 50 year career, are just the stats but once you hear her live, it is like indulging in a decadent multi-layered dessert (chocolate/hazelnut and cherry anyone?).

From the moment Ms Warwick glided onto the stage and started to chat and draw the audience into her world, it felt like we were attending a private party in a Bel Air mansion and just ‘casually’ witnessing a legendary performance alongside the host’s piano ..... such was the warmth and charisma of this amazing woman. The audience was dead silent, making sure to not miss any chatter from Ms Warwick between songs from the beginning until the end of the show, while at the same time clapping and cheering and swaying along to tracks like ‘Walk on By’ , ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ and ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’ which were just some of our scintillating and heart tugging starters.

I have to be honest and say that some of these classic tracks were given a new lease of life for me hearing them live. Ms Warwick’s voice sounded outstanding and at 75 years of age, that’s a remarkable and possibly ‘lucky’ achievement.  I was drawn into that smooth and powerful vocal vortex right from the first syllable. Our song journey continued with ‘Message to Michael’ and ‘This Guy’s in Love With You’ before we received an updated and modern version of ‘I Say a Little Prayer’.  This was one special night and I was very thankful to be finally hearing such supreme tracks from this pop/soul and gospel legend.


I knew my favourite was yet to come but before that we had the hard to forget movie title track ‘Alfie’,  which has been covered by some other iconic singers including Cilla Black and Cher, apart from Ms Warwick’s version (which was the only version to become a Top 20 hit by the way...) and a song that always brings back Michael Caine movie visuals for me.  Then finally it was time! I actually thought I might hear this favourite of mine towards the end but it appeared about three quarters of the way through the show. Those first bars of ‘Heartbreaker’ always put me in a long and far away mood as I gear up to sing along and try to command those lyrics like Ms Warwick does. I never can, but I try, and boy does hearing this song live give me goose bumps. Being one of the first songs I ever heard as a youngster from Ms Warwick, it still packs a knockout punch. Pure magic. Aahhh .... The adventure continues!


We are now on our way to Brazil, which we are told by Ms Warwick, is a must for our future travels and a place of spirituality and musical experience which will make you move and ‘If you ain’t moving something, then you must be dead!’ ... Such are the luscious ‘Waters of March’ and ‘ Brazil (Aquarela do Brasil )’ within this Brazil Medley and how great it is to see such character, energy and spunk from Ms Warwick. I have no doubt that Brazil may have moved up that ‘must see’ travel list for more than a few of the transfixed audience members while we chair shuffled our hips and played imaginary maracas. So how long is that flight???


Now it’s the dreaded time our trip down memory lane begins to wind down and brings us back to the USA with the unforgettable ‘ Do You Know The Way to San Jose’ and ‘ 99 Miles to LA’ .. So much imagery and emotion, ‘San Jose’ being chirpy and cheery and full of hope and then you are inhaled into the complexities of love and inner torture with ‘99 Miles’.  Gorgeous and haunting. Does the night have to end, I really don’t want to go home. Ms Warwick you really are a life force!

Our night concludes with some of the most tender and loving songs ever written; ‘ I’ll Never Love This Way Again’, ‘What the World Needs Now is Love and ‘That’s What Friends are For’.  You could feel the atmosphere in the theatre go all gooey again as we sang along and dabbed some slight tears from our eyes. A standing ovation, so very fitting for such a fabulous and talented woman.


To be blessed with so many Burt Bacharach and Hal David song writing gems, this colliding of universes with Ms Warwick is surely one of the best musical collaborations we have ever had in the history of music. Like champagne and caviar or chocolate and port (which is my favourite combination...), there are some things that are just meant to be on this planet of ours and this clashing of stars is one of them. Lucky, lucky us! Ms Warwick, you gave me a renewed appreciation and deep affection for your legendary songs and like every Sydneysider that had the pleasure to spend some quality time with you, I look forward to your next tour. 80 is the new 60, you know?

by MARINA KNEZEVIC © 2016 All rights reserved

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