Woodstock darling Melanie delights

Door Adiah gepubliceerd op Saturday 21 June 13:54

At 16, Melanie Safka dreamt of becoming a woman "with a past".

Just six years later, after conquering Woodstock as an unknown, she already had stories to tell and now, 45 years on, she has indeed become that woman.

On stage in Sydney on Friday night as part of her People in the Front Row tour - her first Australian concerts in almost four decades - Melanie sang, and told stories from a life well lived, for more than two hours.

"I'm a woman with a past and I've gotten better at everything I've tried to do," she proudly told an audience of mainly baby boomers who've grown along with her.

"My voice is not what you'd call pretty (in a particular key) but it has this thing ... I think it has this healing frequency."

At 67 - and dressed kaftan-style as if she never really left the Age of Aquarius - Melanie captivated the packed Enmore Theatre, entertaining requests for songs as if she was making up the playlist as she went along.

One by one, she reeled them off, invoking happiness from more innocent times: Nickel Song, Brand New Key (The Roller Skate Song), Alexander Beetle, Look What They've Done to My Song Ma.

But there was also the fragility of a woman coping after the death of her husband of 40 years, Peter Schekeryk - "my producer, my friend, my everything".

Melanie's newer material addresses matters such as the "scoundrel" who took advantage of her poor business acumen after her husband's death because "all I know how to do is sing".

In a collaboration with her son, guitarist Beau Jarred Schekeryk, she also has written of the need for people to smile, in a personal, post-September 11 drive for peace.

It's almost as though she has come full circle.

Her famous peace anthem Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) was what many had come to hear, and when they did the house came down.

Melanie is - as she dreamt all those years ago - a woman with a past.


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