Sunday, June 17, 2018


Rock Venus. The songs of Linda Ronstadt. Jane Clifton withClare Moore and Rosie Westbrook in the Banquet Room of the Adelaide Festival Theatre. Adelaide Cbaret Festival. June 14-15 2018.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

Jane Clifton sings the songs of Linda Ronstadt at the
Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Cruelly afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, legendary Rock and Country and Western singer Linda Rodsradt is no longer able to sing. It is a shocking fate for a singer who astounded the musical world with such classics as Paul Anka’s You’re No Good, Blue Bayou, Heart Like a Wheel and Don’t Know Much wih Aaron Neville as well as countless over songs, often in collaboration with oher amazing artists from Frank Sinatra to Bette Midler. In the intimacy of the Banquet Roon at Adelaide’s Festival Centre, the phenomenal Jane Clifton, backed by her adrenalin charged musicians on keyboard, drums, electric guitar and bass pays homage to the amazing talent of the Seventies icon of song
Jane Clifton - Photo Claudio Rascella
Clifton’s passionate homage verges on adulation, and an audience, familiar with Ronstadt, share in the sheer ebullience of Clifton’s performance. Interspersing song with anecdote and bibliography, Clifton explains the vital role that horses and ponies played in Ronstadt’s life, the inventive talents of a family of inventors, her various affairs and her singing career from Tucson, Arizona to the Big Apple. It’s a broad tapestry and it takes a dynamo songstress to swing along from Jazz to Rand B to Country and Western, Rock and Pop, Motown and Pop. What singer can traverse this range and pay tribute to a legend whose legacy leaves behind eleven Grammy Awards and an honoured place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“We’re going to stretch cabaret” Clifton tells an enthusiastic and packed audience. And she does. The audience feels the energy of her song and the triumphant accompaniment of her feisty band. As long as there are singers like Clifton with the power and the passion to celebrate the magic of a legend of the Great American Songbook classics, the memory of Linda Ronstadt’s contribution to the music world will pass on to future generations. At tonight’s performance, many recalled with sweet nostalgia a past, but her performance of Rock Venus is proof positive that the songs of yesteryear will endure into the music of tomorrow.

From Smokey Robinson’s The Tracks of My Tears to Roy Orbison’s Blue Bayou, Clifton reveals the soul and longing for love of the human heart. Ronstadt believed that song should exorcise emotion and leave us filled with love and joy.  As the audience joined in with Clifton’s rousing rendition of Buddy Holly’s That’ll be the Day”,  it was obvious that the spirit of Linda Ronstadt filled the Banquet Room and Rock Venus  would be a highlight of this year’s Cabaret Festival.