By Wal Reid
Artist: Brooke Fraser
Date / Venue: Saturday June 27th, 2015 - Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland
The most famous baby bump in New Zealand belongs to singer songwriter Brooke Fraser, by a mile. Her scaled back nationwide tour replaced the shows postponed earlier in the year and tonight it was the last concert of her heavily publicised Brutal Romantic Tour in Auckland's auspicious spiritual Holy Trinity Cathedral, not as out of place as one would think given her outspoken personal faith, the church's acoustics the perfect milieu for this Kiwi songstress.
"You sound so good, welcome to church I'm Brooke Fraser obviously, if you didn't know that. This is Max" she laughed. Sporting baby, but still stunning, she initiated audience contact with the distorted cacophony ofPsychosocial & the amiable Magical Machine from her new album Brutul Romantic (the Wellingtonian's fourth) before sharing "this is another of my favourites". As the familiar bars of Shadowfeet became apparent, albeit with a new twist as the old favourite was given an electronic revamp complete with a new set of beats breathing life into this now pop classic.
Trying to get this crowd to sing along was like extracting teeth from a newt, as she tried to get them to help out on chorus duties for ‘one of her favourite's Thunder. Fraser the raconteur recounted story after story; she is well known for her witty repartee as much as her music and she didn't fail here, after a little sluggish start (she is preggers) she regained her mojo as the stories and music collided wonderfully, everything from fans stealing her gum after gig on mic stands (she finds gross) and the how she got her ears pierced in her early teen years, leading into the pimped out electronica-beat version of Arithmetic (the song's 13 years old can you believe it?).
Fraser is a stalwart in the music industry, watching her from her early beginnings as a teen in 2003 when she first burst on to the scene to present day. Auckland 2015 blossoming into this lovely mature creature. She held her own wonderfully and was quite nimble moving about on stage, referring now and then to her stunning Zambesi gown. Was I the only person wondering if the unthinkable would happen and she would give birth onstage? It would definitely make for a great advertisement for Zambesi and be wonderfully captured on live radio (live taping) for years to come.
Fraser fans weren't left out as she grabbed her guitar to gravitate back to her What To Do With Daylight days, her voice an ode to many a great Kiwi pop song as she called on Deciphering Me & Something In The Water pleasuring the faithful before going heavy on Start A War, Brutal Romance (dig those ‘damn' French horns) & current radio darling Kings & Queens. Who knew Je Suis Pret was the Fraser whanau Scottish family motto ‘I Am Ready'? Definitely a ‘strawberry' moment, as Fraser recalled the shock of finding out her family crest emblem was the delectable red berry also signalling a high point in her life.
Brooke Fraser is proof you don't need a big band or a flash light show to pimp your wares, modest lighting and quality songs in an intimate setting, like zillion year old cathedral also suffices. It was like listening to Brooke Fraser Spotify playlist but a hundred times better, who knows next time we may see Brooke jnr join her on stage...definitely something in that water aye.