Tina Arena: Live at St John-At-Hackney Church

It has been 10 long years since Tina Arena last played a show in the UK and she didn’t return empty handed. The Aussie pop diva delivered a lively and compelling 90-minute set of her best-loved hits from the last two decades and a few newly-christened tunes from her latest album, Reset.

Tina Arena Live in London

There were visitations from every chapter of Tina’s career, much to her fans’ delight: she has canvassed key singles like the 1990 uptempo ‘I Need Your Body’ to the landmark hit ‘Chains’, and right through to the present-millennium gems like ‘Soulmate #9’, ‘Never (Past Tense)’ and ‘You Set Fire to My Life’.

Vocally, Tina Arena is on-point as ever. It’s still baffling that such a big voice can come from such a petite woman. The chanteuse, who was voted Australia’s greatest female singer of all time, didn’t have any trouble at all in scaling the big notes she had carved her career with. ‘Chains’ is still the performance that best encapsulates the breadth of Arena’s vocal abilities in one song. She has got it so well calibrated, it just builds like a pressure cooker: she starts soft and slow in the verses and gradually crescendoes towards the final chorus, where she’s practically belting the roof off.

Right at the other end of the spectrum, and equally as impressive, is ‘Only Lonely’. The stripped-back performance hears Arena sing in a softer tone, accompanied by a piano. It is in this quiet moment that you realise Arena had amazingly just gone from working the crowd in a sparkly jumpsuit to making it feel like she was singing to you alone in this big old church.

Tina, although most recognised for her ballads, is no mere stand-and-deliver act. She moves with the fluidly of a seasoned entertainer between intimate acoustic numbers to energetic performances where she is strutting, twirling and closing each number with a pose. The theatricality comes to life on ‘Don’t Look Back’, a swinging number from her new album, where she belts: “I refuse to live an ordinary life!”. Indeed, ordinary, is far from anything you would describe a Tina Arena performance. What you’re essentially guaranteed is a wonderfully balanced helping of grace and razzle dazzle.

The audience, as delighted and grateful as they were for this long-awaited gig, kept the decorum for the first three quarters of the show. This is a church after all. But things started to shake lose in the last five songs, especially when ‘Symphony of Life’ blasted through the pews. The subtle dance pop single, which has been a firm fan favourite for over 10 years, completely changed the vibe and suddenly everybody was on their feet, clapping along.

Continue reading


Tina Arena “Reset”

Aussie pop supreme, Tina Arena, returns with Reset: her first album of originals in 12 years. For most of my fellow Aussies, this isn’t news as you’ve had this album for a year now but it’s only just getting a UK release. Thus, this timely review.

Tina Arena REset

The singer, best known for her 90s hit ‘Chains’, has gone back to basics with a collection of pop mid-tempos that are sophisticated and heartfelt.

Despite this being her long-waited comeback, Reset doesn’t reek of desperation. Tina doesn’t have time to dick around with fleeting trends in pop. This is her ninth studio album, she knows what she does best, and that is bringing emotions and stories to life in song. And boy, does Reset have emotions and stories. 12 years between albums is a long time, with lots of living and growing up. (Side note: check out my interview with Tina for more.)

Continue reading

Chart Feed – 17.05.10

Not that Mothers’ Day presents should be about what I want, but I wish I had picked Tina Arena’s Live: The Onstage Collection over Celine Dion’s concert DVD now. I’m sure mum would’ve preferred an intimate and engaged performance over a grand stage with travelators. Mama Tina’s live CD/DVD combo debuted at #22 in Australia this week while Mama Celine’s package entered the UK charts at #11.

It’s clear no one’s buying this shit. Brian McFadden’s Wall of Soundz is set to drop out of our Top 50 after just three weeks on the shelves. The album slipped from a barely adequate debut of #27 to #45 this week. Brian recently tweeted that he’s threatening a Wall of Soundz 2Landfill department, you have been warned.

If no one’s downloading Christina Aguilera’s new single, they’re certainly buying them in stores. ‘Not Myself Tonight’ has finally charted in Australia, entering at #22 this week and we can probably attribute sales to physical copies. It is the sixth best selling single in stores this week. ‘Not Myself Tonight’ also debuted at #12 in the UK this week.

Rihanna‘s ‘Te Amo’ debuts at #35 in Australia this week. The video was reportedly shot in France last month featuring French supermodel Laetitia Casta. Is it too much to ask for a lesbian scene?

It’s been a 10-week long crescendo but Alexandra Burke’s ‘All Night Long’ has finally cracked the UK Top 10 this week. The single currently sits at #8, matching the peak of ‘Broken Heels’. I wonder if Simon Cowell’s noticed. Probably not. Between his multi-million dollar cash cow SuBo and world domination with X Factor, he hasn’t got time for the likes of ABurke.

I’ve got a horrible sinking feeling about this. Much like the feeling you get when your favourite goldfish goes belly up on you. Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Bittersweet’ is floundering on the UK charts – and you know to admit defeat when your single tumbles from a feeble debut of #25 to #54 in a week.

Lady Gaga‘s The Remix compilation debuts at #3 in the UK this week. While I love knowing there’s two different tracklistings out there, it’s annoying that two of my favourite remixes on the Japanese edition – Crookers‘ ‘Telephone’ remix and Skrillex‘s ‘Bad Romance’ mix – have been omitted from the international version. The Remix sits at #13 in Australia this week.

Keane’s Night Train EP has debuted at #1 this week, making it the band’s fourth consecutive chart topper on the UK album charts.

Toni Braxton‘s Pulse didn’t do so bad after all, selling over 54,000 copies in its first week to debut at #9 in the US. She must be jizzing herself because all three singles have pretty much tanked in the States. Pulse debuts at #28 in the UK this week.

I don’t know a thing about Josh Turner but judging by his hunky smile on the album cover, I think I’d like to know more. His album Haywire (see above) leapt from #94 to #74 on the US charts this week. I’m gonna say looks had nothing to do with it.

Eminem’s ‘Not Afraid’ has debuted on top of the US charts this week. Believe it or not, this is only Slim’s third US #1 single ever. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve heard an Eminem song since ‘Mockingbird’ and ‘Ass Like That’ – I’ve booty bounced to the latter on numerous occasions at Heaven’s Door.

LaRoux is at the cusp of cracking the US Top 20 – ‘Bulletproof’ rose to #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Elsewhere, Macy Gray‘s comeback single ‘Beauty In The World’ moved up to #7 on the US Dance charts.

Feedlimmy’s Top 20 Most Played:

#1 Madonna – Revolver (David Guetta One Love Edit)*
#2 Kylie Minogue – All The Lovers*
#3 Kimberly Wyatt – Candy (feat. Aggro Santos)
#4 Kelis – Brave*
#5 Lady Gaga – Alejandro (Electrolightz Remix)
#6 Robyn – Fembot
#7 Wonder Girls – 2 Different Tears*
#8 Mark Sholtez – We Could Get Lost*
#9 Robyn – None of Dem
#10 Kelis – Scream*
#11 Kelis – Home*
#12 Kelis – Acapella
#13 Gabriella Cilmi – Superhot
#14 Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love
#15 Gabriella Cilmi – Robots
#16 Kelis – Emancipate*
#17 Kelly Rowland – Commander
#18 Yolanda Adams – I Gotta Believe
#19 Christina Aguilera – Not Myself Tonight
#20 Kelis – 22nd Century*
* = Added to playlist this week