A lot has happened between the time of the intimate gig the newly reformed band The Tea Party played at Melbourne’s Cherry Bar a few years ago and the concert The Tea Party performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall. It would be inaccurate to say that The Tea Party members have reinvented themselves, but correct to say that the band has managed to reconstitute itself, reignite the passion of fans who were passionate about the band before its demise and has attracted a whole new fan base.
Now the children of The Tea Party fans of the 90’s are discovering the richness of the band’s music, and it bodes well for those who believed that manufactured music and artists were the way of the future. Thank God quality has found an avenue to get ‘its’ foot in the door.
Can you believe that it’s been twenty years since the release of the album Transmission? The recent tour of the U.S. and Canada saw The Tea Party play that album in its entirety, along with some other hits, and though Jeff Martin told us we would get the same gig, the scenario here made us believe that we got much more bang for our buck.
The Tea Party sounds as good as it ever has, and anyone who has seen the band’s many gigs here would probably say that there’s never been a bad one. Even when Jeff Martin played without Jeff Burrows and Stuart Chatwood, his accomplished musicianship still made the hairs on your neck stand on end. Mix the full complement of Tea Party musicians with the musicians of the M.S.O. and Christine Williams adding her ethereal voice to a number of songs, and you have more than a hundred bags full of wow factor.
It was annoying that the acoustics of Hamer Hall fell short, or perhaps the sound desk didn’t get the balance right because the M.S.O. was difficult to hear over the power of the rock instruments. Christine Williams’ vocals were drowned out by the timbre of Jeff Martin’s voice too. Her operatic style could really have taken the familiar songs to a new level entirely, though we all totally appreciated the intention and showed through applause that we loved what she was doing.
There were so many highlights on the night; from fan Sharon’s dance with Jeff Burrows on stage to the beautiful performance of songs so dear…’Sister Awake’, ‘Psychopomp’, ‘Temptation’, ‘The Ocean at the End’, and ‘Heaven’s Coming Down’. How could anyone choose a favourite?
Let’s hope that The Tea Party marks another anniversary of another album in similar style very soon, because this performance would have been the highlight of many a punter’s 2017 musical calendar.