Adelaide Botanic Garden - Feb 2019
The dreamy setting at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens provided the perfect space to enjoy the foot-tapping tunes played by the talented 16 piece ensemble cast from Rock Orchestra: Under the Stars at their Adelaide Fringe show last night.
Never having given a second thought towards the eclectic combination of rock and orchestral music, the group from Rock Orchestra: Under the Stars delivered a fabulous night of merriment, singalongs, and electric vibes that channelled its way through the garden.
Offering a generous mix of nostalgic music, coupled with more recent hits, it didn't take long for the crowd to jump into the groove offered by the group. Invoking feelings of peace, serenity, and tranquility, coupled with a dance / party vibe with the punchier songs in a family-friendly atmosphere, it was apparent that everyone who had come to the show was looking forward to a great evening out in the city's nature nest that encapsulated the ambience of the show brilliantly. Everything from Never Tear Us Apart to My Immortal to Zombie to Ziggy Stardust to Purple Haze was performed and it was apparent that these songs made ripples through the audiences.
Each vocalist delivered with a powerful and soulful sound, as they were complemented the guitars, drums, and violins in the background. There isn't a shadow of a doubt as to why they have consistently been a sell-out show over the past Fringe festivals, because the range of music that was performed throughout this 120-minute show had a strong sense of appeal to everyone. Regardless of one's gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or beliefs anyone and everyone from all walks of life appeared to be (and feel) welcome to this wholesome, inviting, and energetic performance.
As the sun set, the crowd got into the mood to really dance out to the songs and have a ball of a time. As someone who loves going to concerts, but thoroughly dislikes the size of the crowds at them, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well spaced out everybody was, having their own section on the grass, having the best time of their lives with themselves and / or their loved ones, and being respectful of other people's spaces all at once. As the stars continued to twinkle in the sky and the show came to a majestic close, we, in the audience, could feel a ton of special moments and memories being experienced by this unique, one-of-a-kind music show in the perfect location. I couldn't have imagined any better way of spending such a beautiful, summery night than being serenaded by some of the best from the crew at Rock Orchestra: Under the Stars - to say it looked and sounded perfect would be an understatement.
Adelaide Botanic Garden - Feb 2019
A significant joy of this time of the year is getting out into Adelaide’s beautiful parklands and gardens to celebrate music, art and nature. The perfect setting for Saturday’s Rock Orchestra concert was the Museum Lawns in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Picnic rugs, deck chairs and a crowd of old and young dotted the lawns as the record-breaking audience settled in for a glorious night of rock music with strings.
The sixteen piece ensemble was a collaboration of Adelaide rock cover band Point05 and orchestral fusion Akoustic Odyssey and they didn’t disappoint. All sensational musicians in their own right, they introduced themselves by first names and each certainly wowed their largest audience yet with hits from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and this century. From singer Zillah’s rousing cover of Evanescence’s My Immortal and Guns n’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’Mine to Ben and Eugene’s versions of Make Me Smile and Never Tear Us Apart, every musician on that stage proved their professional talent.
Tight musical timing and some beautiful arrangements of the songs were obvious in Tonight, Tonight’s introduction of flute and strings and the vocal harmonising in Sound of Silence. This was superb, with the ensemble not put off by ambulance sirens wailing during the rest/pause right at the end of the song. Other highlights of the night include drummer Hayden’s vocals and guitarist Anthony’s riff on Hotel California and a guest appearance for ACDC’s Thunderstruck. James’ saxophone solos and flute work were perfect but left me yearning for a larger wind and brass section of perhaps oboe, horns, trumpets and trombones to round out the orchestral in this group’s name.
Early songs in the set list did have some issues with feedback, pitchy vocals and the wind, but as the performers warmed up and the night’s ambience took over, these soon settled. The keys were ably mastered by Russell who gave us a taste of his Rock Orchestra Elton John tribute show playing at the Highway Inn later on during the Fringe. The string section added the orchestral element to the night and they certainly showed off their acumen in Live and Let Die. If tonight’s performance was anything to go by, then the remaining Rock Orchestra shows will be well worth the ticket. Hopefully continuing to be a staple of future Fringe Festival seasons, if you do attend a performance in the Botanic Gardens, be sure to bring your picnic rugs, arm the kids with some glow sticks and be prepared to be rocked and swayed by the magic that is Rock Orchestra.
Adelaide Botanic Garden - March 18
Hi, I’m Julie Cavanagh and I’ve been to see Rock Orchestra Under the Stars at the Adelaide Botanic Garden.
This show had everything on its side from the start – a beautiful location on the Garden’s lawns, with the Museum of Economic Botany making a formidable backdrop, a glorious balmy night with a full moon rising and a unique band of 12 talented musicians.
In fact, the Rock Orchestra could have played rubbish and it still would have been a good gig! But they didn’t – the sound was excellent and the combination of guitars, drums, piano, brass and strings worked well, with some particularly nice tight work from the 4 fiddle players and driving lead guitar from Ben someone (it would have been nice if the band were introduced!)
We sat on the grass with our picnic basket, enjoying the selection of classic rock favourites and thought ‘ how much better could it actually get?’ Not much, I reckon.
An encore brought an impassioned finale of the ‘Final Countdown’ , then it was time to wend our way home to fight the crowds from the Fringe who hadn’t been fortunate enough to enjoy that surprising combination of peaceful locale with outstanding entertainment.
Rock Orchestra Under the Stars was, sadly, a one-off performance, but if they’re back next year – I’ll be there.
Adelaide Botanic Garden - Feb 2017
As dusk fell upon the Botanic Gardens Plain Tree Lawns, perfect conditions were set for a night of orchestral music under the stars… rock-fuelled, anthemic, orchestral music.
Rock Orchestra Under The Stars promised a night of classic rock with an orchestral twist and delivered. Sweeping and majestic in its intent, Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony eased us into the night, as the combined ensemble forces of Point05 and Akoustic Odyssey, along with special guest Kat Jade, delivered a night of strings, searing guitars and soaring vox, all underpinned by some great tunes from the past 50 years.
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd), The Chain (Fleetwood Mac), Iris (Goo Goo Dolls) and Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix) were amongst some of the tracks which washed over the sold-out audience in attendance. It was during the first of two Bowie tracks, Ziggy Stardust, where the ensemble truly spread their wings, the combined sounds of rock and classical musicians gelling perfectly with a brilliant vocal delivery.
There were other standouts of course, Wings’ Live And Let Die leant itself perfectly to the evening. Similarly, rousing renditions of the Deep Purple classic Smoke On The Water and Europe’s The Final Countdown had the crowd cheering.
Everything came together both musically and vocally on the evenings highlights. As you closed your eyes it was almost as if Bowie had taken to the stage for Moonage Daydream, delivered phenomenally and to perfection, as was the epic show closer Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven, as the final strains of music left the air, you felt as though you had just witnessed something pretty special.
Review by Peter Lanyon
Adelaide Botanic Garden - Mar 2017
What is there not to like about sitting under the stars on a perfect evening in a beautiful spot in the Botanical Gardens, especially when you are listening to Point05 and Akoustic Odessey, with guest vocalist Kat Jade after joining forces and doing what each group does best?
Actually, not a lot! In fact I think this new group kind of got it right.
The sky did open up and we were all covered with a blanket of stars, just as promised in the show title, and the people watching, listening and eventually dancing to the music enjoyed the show. The venue and performance were family friendly which allowed for even the little ones to lose themselves in the music, it was a joy to watch and be a part of.
All local musicians, singers and creators; I am afraid that I can not name any of them as they were each introduced by their instruments, but the band were tight, clearly well-rehearsed and clearly enjoying themselves. I would absolutely recommend Rock Orchestra Under The Stars to anyone who wants to hear Tiny Dancer, Smoke On The Water or even Stairway To Heaven performed not only live, but performed live and well.
No need to worry about whether you might like it, this new group respectfully duplicated this music but still with their own feel.
If you like the rock music of the last 40 years, you will enjoy this show. Lucky for you, they will be doing it again too.