Review | Perth Symphony Orchestra show the brilliance of Eurythmics

Sweet Dreaming – Eurythmics Reimagined | HBF Stadium | 3 Dec 2020 | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

The Perth Symphony Orchestra have found a loyal following by putting together shows that combine music we already love with the magical beauty of a full symphony orchestra. Previously they’ve highlighted the work of Bowie, The Doors and Nirvana, and now they turn their attention to the amazing body of work created by Eurythmics.

Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox’s musical partnership started long before the band they founded. They were both members of British group The Tourists who found chart success in Australia in 1980 with a cover of Dusty Springfield’s I Only Wanna Be With You.

When that band imploded, they decided to form a new group, and Eurythmics were formed in the unlikely location of NSW outback town Wagga Wagga. Through out the 1980’s they became one of the most iconic bands in the era of music videos scoring a string of hits. They also created a prolific body of work, sometime releasing more tan an one album within a year.

To take a us on a journey through their songs the orchestra was joined by three talented singers. Non-binary Irish vocalist Freddie Mai, who took us through the early years of Eurythmics, the sensational Sabrina Davies who lead us through some of the band’s biggest hits, and local legend Ali Bodycoat who delivered a powerful rendition of some of Annie Lennox’s solo works.

After all three singers greeted us with Sweet Dreams, Freddie Mai took our hand and lead us through the bands earlier works including Love is a Stranger, Here Comes the Rain Again, Who’s That Girl. Dressed in an over-sized suit and with their hair cropped short and dyed vivid red, they not only delivered the songs but also the visual look of the band that was being honoured.

After teaming up with Sabrina Davies for Would I Lie To You, Mai left the stage as we moved into the middle section of the show and the next stage of the band’s career.

A rendition of It’s Alright Baby’s Coming Back was a show stopper, and soon we were singing along to Thorn in My Side, There Must Be an Angel Playing With My Heart, When Tomorrow Comes, and The Miracle of Love. Davies had the crowd dancing in the aisles and singing along.  

The third section of the presentation focused on the solo career of Annie Lennox.  The pinnacle moment was local legend Ali Bodycoat appearing wearing a elaborate feather headpiece as she sang the haunting Why.  Walking on Broken Glass, Little Bird and Into the West were also featured. Bodycoat’s vocals were powerful and filled the area while maintaining a delicate intimacy.

The real star of this show was the beautiful classical arrangements of the music, which highlighted themes and melodies that might not have been as obvious in their original versions.

The finale saw all three vocalists return to the stage for an encore of Missionary Man and the anthem Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves.  

While the song selection was well and truly aimed at a presentation of the hits, I would have loved to hear the orchestra take on one of the band’s lesser known songs such as Shame, You Have Placed a Chill in my Heart or Peace Is Just a Word.

Surely I Love to Listen to Beethoven was a missed opportunity. Co-collaborator in the Eurythmics Dave Stewart was also overshadowed in this performance, a Garfunkel to Lennox’s Simon. It would have been sensational to hear some Lily Was Here worked into the later part of the show.

An evening with the Perth Symphony Orchestra is a delight, and in 2021 they have a great range of events planned, and music lovers should start booking their seats now.

Graeme Watson, images Caris Morecombe

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