Musical Director Emma Greenhill
State Theatre Sydney
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
The last time I saw a Damien Leith show he had two acoustic guitars, a string trio and an occasional keyboard.
For Roy Orbison Orchestrated at the State Theatre there were about 30 in the orchestra, a drum kit, four kettle drums, four guitars, and Musical Director/Creator Emma Greenhill brilliantly steered the entire show. Ooby Dooby, Mean Woman Blues, You Got It, Penny Arcade and of course Oh, Pretty Woman had the theatre jumping and the mid tempo songs, Running Scared and Only The Lonely had us all engaged. There were even a couple of Traveling Wilburys songs.
But Leith really excels at the slower songs such as Blue Bayou, Leah, It's Over and Crying, and Greenhill brings in her powerful strings section to make Love Hurts and In Dreams special, emotional experiences.
Normally the Irish tell good jokes and can tell them well but we were all thankful that Leith only told one: “Of the seven dwarfs, only one was happy.” Fortunately there was a drummer on hand for the “Boom - Tish!”
An older cousin once took me to my first concert which was at the Sydney Stadium. The headliner was Roy Orbison and the show included The Joy Boys, Paul & Paula, The Surfaris and the main support act was The Beach Boys. That concert would be hard to match.
If you close your eyes while listening to Damien Leith, you won’t be thinking that you’re hearing Roy Orbison by any stretch, but you’ll appreciate a very talented performer who has an engaging personality. The addition of the orchestra and the arrangements by Emma Greenhill made for a thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable and uplifting concert experience.