A constant visitor to Australia, Belinda Carlisle closed out her 2016 Down Under tour last night (March 12th) with a spectacular show at The Melbourne Zoo (as part of their annual Summer Twilight Concert Series) in front of a massive crowd of about 3000 people.
With rain clouds threatening to open up at any time (thankfully they held off), the sold out show started off with local 80’s electro-pop-funk group Pseudo Echo taking the stage to a round of applause and pumping up the audience with a range of hits including Ultraviolet from their 2014 album and following it up with a set of their more memorable classics including A Beat For You, Don’t Go, Love An Adventure and an incredible cover of Real Life’s Send Me an Angel but it wasn’t until their final song that the entire crowd got up and moving – an extended version of their number one hit Funky Town.
A brief break to re-set the stage – including a tambourine on the front mic stand – before Belinda Carlisle, dressed in her usual loose black blouse and black pants, took to the stage.
Without taking too much time to take in the cheers, whistles, screams and claps from the adoring crowd of fans, Carlisle simply went straight into the title track off her 1989 album Runaway Horses before diving into a personal favorite of mine (We Want) The Same Thing. I Get Weak, In Too Deep, Circle in the Sand, Vision of You and La Luna were belted out with Carlisle moving around the stage with effortless flair.
One of her biggest and more enduring hits Summer Rain pushed the crowd towards the stage, hands up and singing at the top of our voices which was then followed up by another favorite Mad About You before Carlisle took a moment to talk about her time with The Go-Go’s in which she mentioned how she took the spot of lead singer in the newly formed girl group as she didn’t want to play the guitar and mentioned that “popular to contrary belief in Australia, the next song she’ll be singing isn’t actually titled Alex the Seal”
This of course led Belinda into a Go-Go’s double up of Our Lips are Sealed and the even more upbeat We Got the Beat. The set was finished on two more massive hits – fan favorite Leave a Light on and the rousing Live Your Life Be Free which was given the extended remix treatment as found on the B-side to the original vinyl release of the single which then saw Carlisle exit the stage.
A brief interlude of mere minutes before returning to sing Valentine from the Runaway Horses album and Big Scary Animal from her Real album but there was still one more song everyone there was waiting to hear. Heaven is a Place on Earth, the single that solidified Carlisle’s place as a solo artist, began and the crowd sang, danced, cheered and belted out the classic hit.
A quick thank you to the masses and Carlisle once again exited the stage for a quick break before returning for one final song, a rendition of The Carpenters classic Superstar. A touching finale from an incredible singer.
Carlisle’s voice remained strong and on point throughout the entire show, her vocal quaver that we all know and love, as present as ever. There was no need for big flashy visuals or expensive set production as Carlisle’s hits paired with her unmatched and distinctive vocals more than stand on their own to provide an incredibly entertaining show.
If I had to find any (and i’m stretching here) negatives, I wish she had added Do You Feel Like I Feel to her set list – but that’s only because it is my all-time favorite track from her – and I would have loved to have seen her, at the conclusion of her final song, take in the roar of cheers and applause from the fans a little longer before exiting.
This was my first ever time getting the opportunity to see Belinda Carlisle, yes I did loose my voice from all the fangirly screaming and singing at the top of my lungs, yes I did get teary when Live Your Life began to play and yes, she did not disappoint. As a long time fan with numerous Carlisle vinyls that get played weekly, I would more than recommend seeing the superstar singer next time she’s in town. I know I will be!