It doesn’t really matter whether Jeff Martin is fronting The Tea Party or going it solo in an intimate venue one thing is for sure you’re going to get one hell of an experience. In short Jeff Martin’s show at Jive was incredible! It was so many things, it was raw, emotive, powerful, intense… just brilliant! Jeff Martin commented that certain places where he plays now have that familiarity to them and that it was like coming home. It was like hanging out with that long lost friend you get to see every so often.

Jeff Martin took to the stage saying that there is so much to talk about that there won’t be no nightclub happening here afterwards. Two songs in and everyone was blown away by the news that The Tea Party would be returning to Adelaide to play a world music festival early next year but we didn’t hear that from him. The Tea Party at WOMADELAIDE! Wow! If that wasn’t mind blowing enough Jeff announced that they would be returning with new music that would kick arse. Holy smokes I need to sit down.

The spirit in the room was high hearing the familiar sounds of The Bazaar was just unreal. Jeff spoke about recognising the familiar faces in the audience and how he was feeling the love promising fans they would have a great time, he even swore to god on it, but there needed to be some light and shade. It was definitely a poignant moment of the show where Jeff was talking about loss and that there was a river in Egypt called denial. It was a tender moment where Jeff paid tribute to his guitar tech, who he was expecting to walk through that door, who passed way to quickly due to illness playing Requiem/ Hurt. There wouldn’t have been too many dry eyes in the audience.

The focus of the tour is his new EP Stars In The Sand inspired by a trip to Bali with his fiance which was prefaced by the question how many of you are in love? After ten minutes on the beach ending up with a vampire tan and looking at the sand he said I can see stars in the sand. It was that moment where he would go home and write a song about how much he loves his fiance which led to Stars In The Sand being born. Fantastic song off the EP available only at shows on this tour.

Moments don’t get any grander than Winter Solstice which morphed in to U2’s With Or Without You and the audience sing-a-long was just sensational which lead in to Save Me. The audience were in fine voice. Shadows On The Mountainside was superb taken from their tour 1993 on the tour bus heading from Calgary to Vancouver. Being handed a bag of “mushrooms” Jeff commented that he felt as if the eagles were talking to him and that there were bears on the side of the road and that he was tripping that hard he thought he was Jim Morrisson. There was a dedication to the hard working owner Tam who Jeff referred to as his sister and spoke fondly of Jive prompting the song Coming Home. The final song of the set was epic combining Sisters Awake and new tune To The Forces (Hindi Zahara) with some awesome loops for full effect. Brilliant.

Jeff returned for an encore with Mitch King who opened proceedings and mark my words this guy is destined for bigger things. Definitely worth getting your hands on any of his earlier works. Jeff asked Mitch not to show him up, jokingly, like he did in Melbourne with some awesome harmonica. Kicking off with Bring It On Home morphing in to Black Skin Blues and A Whole Lotta Of Love. Plenty of happy people left Jive knowing that there’s plenty to look forward to in 2019 from The Tea Party.

Live Review by Rob Lyon