Not “another normal night”! No, a Ziggy one

Posted on 11th October 2011

The Enmore Theatre [hosted Friday 14 Oct 2011|hosts this coming Friday] another Duffo-meets-Ziggy show – not only with Steve Balbi, but also with Paul “I sunk the Titanic” Capsis and the wham-bam-mam herself, Christa Hughes. Read about it at David Bowie’s own official site.

I’ve got my ticket. And all the A, B, C and up to G rows have gone. Hurry up you bloody lot or you’ll get another normal night again.

So how did the show go? You can see for yourself with some youtubes from kind patrons, starting with this one of Duff doing Changes. The guitar and sax solos were fevered. But is there anything left to see or hear after Duff’s opening “StarMan”, when he appears with golden angel wings and goes off on octavial flights, or his figure in a new leotard, a b/w horizontally striped number to give us an arresting Changes? Duff gave us “Heroes”, “Young American”, “Starman”, “China Girl” and “Let’s Dance”, plus Bowie’s part in “Under Pressure”. No Bowie of the late ’80s, ’90s or the zeroes made it to the stage; no “Loving the Alien” or “I’m Afraid of Americans”.

Balbi went for not one not two but three (or even four?) final calls of “Is there life on Mars …?” The audience gave him a standing ovation for that effort. Later, Balbi worked the stage, too, in Ziggy-as-lizard mode, climbing up ropes and sliding down peep-holes, living out the fantasies of a thousand mutant lives. Hey, and he didn’t even have to go falsetto upon those high B-flats. (Unlike the X-Factor’s unordinary Declan.) Balbi does it here, at the very concert. Is that the audience holding its breath? Balbi worked hard to make every moment essential-x-exciting. He summoned up Ziggy-Geist and took it at least a galactical way forward.

Paul Capsis snarled his way through his choice of Ziggy songs, then adding “Wild is the Wind” to his “Suffragette City,” with Hagen-esque wails to top it off.

Christa Hughes picked out “Crack’d Actor” and the “Alabama Song”. Her “Moonage Daydream” on the night remains an historical event.

A happy coincidence: with no-one to my left, the unknown lady to my right was somehow compelled to tell me, during the intermission, that she thought Jeff Duff was the best performer so far. Why? I tried to continue the conversation as best I could. It turned out that she knew nothing of Duff’s own work.

There is so much more to say about this night: The generous and genial Duffo-Hughes rendition of “Under Pressure”; the rumour all about that the “Grande Dame” herself was in the audience; the lady in her 80s, in the audience, more glamorous than Greta Garbo in “Grand Hotel”; Duff neatly handling a costume mistake – his falling fly in his opening numbers – “a work in progress” he explained, rectifying it; and meeting Rose, my long-time some-time friend from Hobart, up here herself, seeing Duffo like me, and pressing me to take a Front Row Seat (those empty ones near the speakers …). And I won’t say that this was all “such stuff as dreams are made of” – for on this night of Duffo and friends, reality was the total cake. Until another abnormal night!

(The title quote is from the song “Another Normal Night” on Duffo’s “The Disappearing Boy” album.)

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– rodg.
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