From "On the Street" magazine © 1987
Music and Entertainment magazine distributed in the Sydney and Newcastle area.


Iva Davies in fetching cutaway top - pic by Tony Mott
Bankstown RSL 19/7/87
The content of the "Crazy" set is little changed from that of last year's "Measure For Measure" and "Cross The Border tours - a chronology of "greatest hits", with the bonus of the spine-tingling "Man Of Colours", title track of the next album.
The eloquent "Paradise" and acoustic-launched version of "Dusty, Pages" are gone, logically replaced with the soaring guitar and vocals of "Crazy". Congratu-lations must go to Andy Qunta and Robert Kretschmer, as well as Iva, on this song which has developed a further sparkle in performance. The bulk of the media persist in their Icehouse - Iva view of the band, while this tour and its first taste of the new material go further to prove Icehouse are more than a one-man band these days.
Aside, from showing the consolidation of the group, what makes this tour excitingly distinct from the last two is the presentation and dramatic pacing. Ice-house show how "dedicated to glam" they can be, pulling some very clear visual tricks which really boost the energy of the songs. The "how do we get the band on stage" prelude has changed, the tense theme from "Boxes" replaced by an effective barrage of aircraft sounds, and an almost ironic warning voice-over, assuring the audience through the air raid that they need have no fear. From the first song they certainly have no fear of an unentertaining moment in the show.
Perhaps the crowd should be warned instead that this show involves lots of catches of breath, plenty of surprises, a real party on stage.
Iva's prancing about has settled into less of a put-on, which it was last tour to the detriment of his delivery, producing lots of gutteral rasping and some clearly
off notes. Now he seems as relaxed as the rest of the band, physically extending the emotional energy of the songs instead of stamping all over it. Perhaps two local tours, with America between, were too much and caused the posturing, swagger-ing, and pushing too far which dried out much of the passion. There are not so many affectations this time around (though he did some hip damage recently which could also account for the pull-back).
Most of the old material holds true,, "Hey, Little Girl", and the epic" Great Southern Land" sound even riper than when they were first aired, and "Sister" hammers along. Unfortunately "Can't Help Myself" has lost much of its original desperate edge and turned pure bop, tiresome like "We Can Get Together" and "Taking The Town". You can have too much of a good thing; I'd prefer to see something more surprising in place than see songs damaged. The rather trite and repetitive "Mr Big" could go too, with something more adventurous, like the lusty, stumbling "Lucky Me", or the snarl of "Not My Kind" to shake a few minds as well as cobwebs loose. There is no lack of other "old". material, if the new is under wraps till next tour, which would get the same reactions.
Steve Morgan, the new addition since the recording of the album, is a real blessing not only for his solid bass, but strong backing vocals, very noticable when you puts lots of oohs and na na nas in your chorus lines. He works well with Paul's now settled drums, keeping the pace tight and between them making Icehouse's other electronic assistance less noticable. Andy and Simon keep piano and keyboards distinct, smiling and interesting between the swathes of dueling guitars. Bob plays his lead breaks with a sensuality and restraint rare among so many over-the-top guitarists, and it's
worth seeing, Icehouse perform just to watch his work. He transforms songs like "Cross The Border" with swirling brakes that leave you with vertigo, out of sight of the vinyl versions. Simon's sax slices through, "Hey, Little Girl" and "Don't Believe Anymore", which stands as one of the finest lyrics Iva has produced.
The overview of songs presented in tonight's show left me feeling Icehouse are steadily moving from their younger evocative, imagistic lyrics, scattered with occasional outbursts of raw emotion, to more concisely expressive songs, expo-sition and storytelling richly tempering personal experience and replacing the
earlier atmospherics and occasional ob-securities. This development is underlined by the increased guitar drive, and could well gain them a broader and more receptive audience for the next album, not just to the quirky singles with which most identify the band and which led to a show like this.
Whatever delights or displeases you with this set, the uncompromising sound, the new colour and brighter energy in performance and the overall quality of the songs carries the audience away. This Icehouse gets warmer every day.