Reformation tours are always fraught with danger, as our beloved heroes can tarnish some great memories by playing one gig too many, proving to be a disappointment more than anything. Nevertheless, The Tea Party ARE BACK! It is great to see that Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood, and Jeff Burrows were able to resolve their differences and start touring again after seven years, which has made many fans, including myself, very happy indeed.
The production wasn’t overly elaborate, but was more about reconnecting with fans who turned out in strong numbers to support the band. Jeff Martin is undoubtedly one of the front men of all front men, echoing the sentiment 'Good to see all my friends, hello Adelaide!' "The River" got proceedings off to a roaring start.
Not sure why there was a need for seats on the floor (not all Tea Party fans are that old), but Martin asked the question 'Why are you all sitting down?' "The Bazaar" kind of sent the crowd in to a mini meltdown, proving that even though seven years have passed, they haven’t lost it. The band were tight, and Martin, full of rock swagger, asked another question 'Did you miss us?', the responding to the cheers with 'right back at you, babies!'
"Lullaby" was as awesome as ever, with Martin explaining that many fans had told him that their music had helped in the procreation of many babies, not his, and knowing with foresight that this would happen, and as responsible adults, they wrote a song about it.
So far, so good; the band wanted the crowd to rediscover their dark side, which seemed appropriate to give "Psychopomp" a good going over.
Martin was reflective during the show, saying that he was happy with the experience, despite being in the wilderness for the last seven years. He also added that he feels complete now, with these two guys returning for their first Australian tour in seven years, and hopefully many of more to come.
"Correspondences" was great but it was "The Messenger" that proved to be one of many highlights, morphing in to a brief version of Jeff Buckley's "The Last Goodbye", referring to playing the Esplanade Hotel, which also happened to coincide with Buckley’s first Australian show, playing Adelaide the same night.
It is funny how times change, and as Martin said, if they had ring tones back then they would be billionaires, with a ring tone saying “you”, taken from their song "Fire In The Head". Plenty of wow factor with this one, with the crowd screaming back the chorus.
Martin did tell a tale from the road, and said it was great that the three of them had plenty of tour stories to share again. What was believed to be vegetable based tea was actually “mushroom” tea, leaving him to be freaked out on the tour bus having a Jim Morrison moment – gold.
The lineage to Led Zeppelin was made quite clear, with snippets of "Nobody’s Fault But Mine" in "Sun Going Down", and "Kashmir" in "Save Me". "Save Me" was epic beyond all proportions, leaving hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end. The snippet of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" in "Heaven Coming Down" was stellar, so too was "Release", dedicated to the 'better half of the species' and the White Ribbon campaign against domestic violence. The main set was brought to a close with stories about sex, drugs, black magic, and from the bottom of Martin’s heart, he’d never lead anyone into "Temptation".
The chant for The Tea Party to return for an encore was strong and brought the house down. Punters got their wish with "Winter Solstice" and the epic "Sister Awake", with a brief snippet of "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones.
An awesome show made better knowing a live recording of one of the Australian shows is set for future release. Let’s hope it isn’t seven years for a return visit!