Melanie Anne Safka, the American singer-songwriter best known for her hits “Brand New Key”, “What Have They Done To My Song Ma” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)”, walked to the microphone in the Dunstan Playhouse and said she was a little nervous after being told Adelaide was the hardest audience in the world.
From that moment on, her adoring fans – many of whom seemed to have seen her at Woodstock, or, if not, wished they had – set about assuring Melanie she was very much loved.
She still has that cute face with an endearing smile, dresses in loose, colourful clothing, and when she wants to hit a note it resonates all the way back to New York City and, for many of us, our young adulthood.
Melanie sang her hits, occasionally granted people’s unsolicited requests such as “Alexander Beetle”, and enchanted us with anecdotes about her early years of performing, her departed husband, life in America and how the music industry treats women in their mature years.
Melanie is a rare talent; she has proven that she has staying power and is still capable of producing wonderful music (now she writes and performs with her son, Beau-Jarrad). The backing band was absolutely brilliant, and Melanie included them superbly throughout the performance.
Cleverly, she included the audience in the show, occasionally getting us to stand and sometimes to sing along; her laugh is infectious and her manner was engaging. How could we not sing along! As well as the sweet, cute and vibrant, there were contemplative lyrics in “I Tried to Die Young”, optimism and hope in “Beautiful People”. She certainly has plenty of material to draw on (I wasn’t aware that she had recorded over 30 albums and sold more than 80 million records).
Melanie is a wonderful songwriter, a beautiful singer and a delightful performer. I am sure that with the standing ovations she received, she will be telling a different story back home about Adelaide audiences.
Melanie performed two shows at the Dunstan Playhouse as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, which continues until June 21.
For more stories and reviews, see InDaily’s 2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival hub.
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