The power, emotion, and honesty of renowned singer/songwriter Toni Childs was enough to cause tears in the audience – myself included, during her recent Retrospective tour.
Toni, an Emmy winner, and three-time Grammy nominated recording artist, launched the tour to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of her album Union.
From the moment Toni walked onto the stage, her presence and majestic aura embraced the audience before her strong and distinctive voice filled the theatre.
Opening with a host of old favourites, the audience lapped up all the hits including Don’t Walk Away, Stop Your Fussin, Where’s the Ocean and the ever-powerful Zimbabwe.
Before launching into her worldwide hit I’ve Got to Go Now, Toni said it was a song Australians, in particular, felt a connection to. She also discussed many themes dealt with in the song including domestic violence and emotional abuse.
With Toni often sitting at the front of the stage on a picnic rug with a thermos of hot tea and discussing her life journey, it felt more like an intimate gathering with friends than a sold-out theatre show.
After an interval to, in Toni’s words, “let our palate prepare for new flavors”, the second half featured new music from albums It’s All a Beautiful Noise and Citizens of the Planet, a combination of funky, uplifting beats and more soulful reflective pieces.
Toni, who currently resides in Byron Bay, after moving from Hawaii with her Australian husband in 2012, discussed her mission to save the bees through her upcoming tour next year. She revealed the new shows would be dedicated to increasing awareness about the bees and include lots more audience engagement including a 3D mapping experience and public installation.
Closing the show with her ever-popular Many Rivers to Cross, audiences were left touched and excited about her upcoming projects. Lots more to come from this breathtaking artist.
June 8, Lighthouse Theatre, Warrnambool Victoria.
Reviewed by Sally Poehland