As far as prophecy in song goes, Leo Sayer's first hit nailed it perfectly. The show must go on - and it has. The debut Sayer LP, Silverbird, arrived during an era in British rock of glitter, glam, androgynism and theatricality, and it set off on an astonishing musical odyssey. The cover and performance look was in tune with the prevailing mood - mime makeup, a lonely Pierrot clown persona. The impact was immediate, with The Show Must Go On racing to #2 in Britain in December 1973, with One Man Band in the top ten in January 1974.
But it was later in that year that little Leo exploded globally. A second album, Just A Boy, crashed into the American top twenty and the skittering Long Tall Glasses was an international hit. Leo Sayer had arrived in all our lives. The Grammy-winning You Make Me Feel Like Dancing turned a sad clown into a disco dazzler. It was a an instant chart topper, as was his version of Albert Hammond's When I Need You.
In the 90s Leo Sayer effected, through sheer determination, a career renaissance driven by live performances of relentless energy. Along with his capacity audiences, he was having a great time. "I can't work out why so many people in this business don't seem to like what they're doing. It's just a wonderful life and I'm singing better than ever, and I have the band I've always dreamed of - they're just the best, they're a part of me. It just feels really good on stage every night."
It felt particularly good at The Basement, Sydney's legendary intimate performance venue. "I started off playing places like this" he recalled fondly before taking the stage. "Tonight is kind of like a celebration of thirty years for me - it was thirty years ago this week that we wrote Giving It All Away and it all started to happen for me.
Just what happened is covered by this unique live document which weaves us in and out of three decades of accomplishment, The Show Must Go On and as long as Leo can draw a breath, it will.
GLENN A. BAKER