Review by Laura Money
Well Perth, Peter Combe is back with your yearly dose of nostalgia! For one night only, Combe entertained a bunch of Gen Y adults in a tent in the middle of Northbridge. You don’t get closer to your childhood than an all-tent sing-a-long! It is a strange sight – all these grown men and women singing along to Juicy Juicy Greengrass with gusto, extolling the virtues of Spaghetti Bolognese and asking Dad if he left his bag in Baghdad.
I cannot overstate how important Peter Combe’s music is to a whole generation of 30 somethings but believe me, the whole room was filled with such warmth and love for the iconic singer, it literally brought people together. Combe’s unique brand of children’s entertainment truly stands the test of time, as he even threw in a new track off of his latest album to trial – apparently we all passed the audition. As a children’s entertainer it’s hard to see past the silly lyrics and basic tunes, but Combe is more than a kid’s entertainer – he is a true musician. As an adult, I can appreciate just how good the music is – the band is exceptional, yet it’s easy to be great when the material is so rocking.
Of course, Combe was accompanied by The Clicketty Cane Band – the most awesome name ever, by the way! They are true musicians, with an immense amount of talent between them – three are Perth locals so keep your ear to the ground. Combe also brought over his good friend and offsider, pianist Phil. Their banter was hilarious and his complimentary vocals harmonised well with Combe’s, especially in a charming rendition of Here Comes the Sun.
There is an attitude that children’s music is boring, but listening with 30-year-old ears, I realised that there really was no-one like Combe around in the 90s. His songs really were and still are amazing to listen to. It has been well over 20 years since I heard most of these songs, yet I found myself grinning from ear to ear singing Jack and the Beanstalk, The Silly Postman and Newspaper Mama. There were some wonderfully touching moments as Combe sang a song dedicated to his son, and Spangle Road from his operetta Frederick WhatsHisName & his TwoLegged Six String Guitar, a song I was surprised to hear was a popular choice for bridal waltz these days.
This highlights just how much of an impact Combe has been in Australia, not just for children. It is a testament to him to see so many people so heavily influenced by his virtues – be they from a strong environmental theme, a reverence for the planet earth and the solar system, or just favourite foods like toffee apples or peanut butter. All I know is that many millenials got their musical education from listening to Combe’s version of Chopsticks rather than playing it themselves, and we are eternally grateful.
By creammag | February 5, 2017
If you were lucky enough to have grown up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, you probably remember the sheer joy of listening – and singing along – to the music of kids’ show presenter Peter Combe. With his uncanny knack for a catchy tune, this pied paper of Adelaide made everything seem that much more fun. What a treat it is, then, to be able to turn back the clock to those childhood years at Peter Combe’s latest show at Perth’s Fringe World.
Performing with his backing band, the Clicketty Canes, it is clear right from the get-go that the man himself has lost none of his musical chops. Indeed, he appears to be so unmarked by time that you get the uneasy sense that it is only you who have been doing the growing up. With not one bum note or strained vocal, the songs magically ring out as clearly as they did nearly thirty years ago.
Like a contagion, the joy up on the stage spills out into the audience, whereby hands start to clap and voices lift. In fact, Combe and company manage to keep the audience in this state of blissful abandon for so long that by the show’s end there are raucous calls for an encore from those already suffering from withdrawal.
Forget ‘La La Land’, if you want musical staying power, Peter Combe is about as good as it gets. Chris Prindiville
Announcing 7 matinees at the incomparable Garden of Unearthly Delights as part of my 2017 Adelaide Fringe season together with the fantastic kids from Theatre Bugs. Beginning Feb 25.
Over the years, all around Australia, I've done countless numbers of concerts in schools. This current tour has reminded me that I still love doing them, partly because performing is 'in my blood' and also because children genuinely benefit from experiencing a live performance in their school. For many children, their main experience of music is what they see on an ipad, or computer screen...and so they really enjoy, and in fact, are almost taken by surprise, when they see a performer "live" in front of them. My aim always, is to stimulate and extend children's natural love of singing. Echo songs, catchy chorus songs, animal songs, food songs, quirky songs and the occasional serious song. Singing is such a unifying activity and promotes those positive feelings that we're 'all in this together' and can enjoy being a community.