Story by Rufus Onfire
A cold, windy Sydney winter’s night provided the perfect backdrop for punters who had come to witness the reunion of one of Canada’s finest exponents of that bad, bad thang, rock! The Tea Party.
What better way to start than with the opener off 1993’s Splendor Solis album “The River”. In an instant I’m back at the since long gone Phoenician Club on a summer’s night in early 1994 sitting in awe at the raw power Messrs Martin, Chatwood and Burrows supply with purpose in belting out this track, and tonight’s version is no exception to get things going.
You also get the feeling it was the opener most fans wanted tonight as well as it ends and then rolls into “The Bazaar” off 95’s The Edges Of Twilight. Main man Jeff Martin let us know that if we haven’t worked it out already, tonight’s gig is being filmed for a live DVD to go with the CD which is also being recorded of the tour – part of the thang the guys are doing after having got on board with Pledge Music.
Half a dozen songs in see the band offer up a cover of Daniel Lanois’ “Messenger” which contains a wee snippet of Jeff Buckley’s Last Goodbye in there for good measure as well. Then a triple treat of tracks off Edges, an in your face “Fire In The Head” rolls into “The Badger” and finishes with a superb version of “Shadows On The Mountainside”.
The musicianship is stunning and tight sounding, reflective of being back in the saddle for a decent stint gig wise before tonight’s offering. The Aussiefied Perth boy Jeff Martin jumps between the guitars and array of other instruments on offer with ease, ably assisted by “Dr Rhythm” Stuart Chatwood while sticks man Jeff Burrows rounds it out nicely.
Like Ben Harper, Aussies just seemed to get this band from the get go, hence why they have made countless trips here to play the good stuff, and it don’t get much better than rousing versions of “Sun Going Down” and “Save Me” off Splendor Solis, both including Zeppelin snippets from Nobody’s Fault But Mine & Kashmir while “Save Me” remains the first and still captivating reason why I got into this band nigh on 2 decades ago (really has it been that long!).
A double shot of tracks from 1997’s Transmission slab “Release” & “Temptation” close out the set, before it goes dark and the encore call starts to ring out. The lads don’t disappoint and return for a wonderful version of “Winter Solstice” before “Sister Awake” with a dollop of the Stones’ “Paint It Black” mixed in to season the savoury sounds end proceedings for the night.
The years have not wearied their live sound, nor has the appreciation of the punters who packed the Hordern tonight for another chance to see something special ignite one more time.
Even if they didn’t play “In This Time”, there was more than enough to suggest that the flame may long flicker again for The Tea Party. Bring on the album fellas!
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