Spellbound - Vol II Iss IV
© February 1996
The press were fairly nice to Iva and the band concerning Berlin, with
a few exceptions. There's one (or two) in every crowd
We will concentrate
on those who had something legitimate to say pertaining to Berlin and,
most importantly, Icehouse.
We collected various press clippings and will reprint what we felt were
some of the best comments. Many of the articles recorded for all to read
Graeme Murphy's praise of Iva's talents.
The Sun Herald - 22 October 1995: "Iva is very generous in
terms of his writing," says Murphy, "because he gives you a
sound canvas on which you can put your visual images."
Xtra! - 17 November 1995: "I thought the arrangements were
so good, so unusual," Murphy says. "Bits of Debussy mixed in
with David Bowie's 'Loving The Alien,' a bit of Gregorian chant mixed
in with 'All Tomorrow's Parties.' That was what was appealing to me initially."
Drum Media - 21 November 1995: "There was something extraordinary
about the mix of instruments," Murphy explains. "They still
had a band feeling, but the way he'd mixed other musical idioms into the
pieces, to me, was fascinating. Iva's voice also is, for me, incredibly
evocative; there's something quite ethereal about Iva's voice, and that's
why I've sort of externalised him from the work in a way - he's dressed
in a very different feel and look to the other characters in the piece;
the dancers don't really acknowledge him, but they are aware of him. There's
a bit of a godlike feel about it, a bit of an external force feel about
him in the work."
Who Weekly - 5 December 1995: "Davies," says Murphy,
"knows exactly what he wants
I like to see him at work. I'm
fascinated by his processes. The way he thinks about music is really very
Indeed, Mr. Murphy, indeed. And what did the "critics" say about
Berlin and the music?
TV Week - 18 November 1995: "Not simple covers, most of the
songs on this concept album have been cleverly reconstructed to be included
as part of the soundtrack to the new Sydney Dance Company modern ballet
Drum Media - 21 November 1995: "An album of other writers'
songs may seem an unlikely departure for a respected songwriter, but Iva
initially conceived of doing it as an interim project to help him regroup
after Icehouse's lengthy Big Wheel tour."
The Australian - 20 November 1995: "On the face of it, you
wouldn't think that songs such as 'Loving The Alien,' 'Heaven,' or Sammy
Cahn's 'All The Way' would have anything to do with the world of postwar
Berlin; yet by some almost miraculous alchemy it all pulls together and
takes this stage metaphor out of the specific past and into the realm
of the observed present and projected future.
"To hear Allegri's 'Miserere' wrapping itself around The Velvet Underground's
'All Tomorrow's Parties' may seem disconcerting and artily arch, but to
see the company performing it gyrating on the edge of the volcano that
leads directly to their personal Gotterdammerung is to see genuine theatrical
magic at work."
Who Weekly - 4 December 1995: "Ten years after Murphy and
Davies worked together on Sydney Dance's successful Boxes, they've again
created a spellbinder with Berlin, which opened on November 17 in Sydney
to loud applause and which will tour in the new year."
We hope to pass on more quotes from the press but with the flavor of Kiwi
in the next issue.
The next single to come from The Berlin Tapes also comes with a dose of
frustration for the fans. What many fans have named the best song for
both the album and the stage production, "Complicated Game"
will become just that (at this stage) for fans to add to their collections.
This single has no current plans to go to record shops and will only visit
radio. If its itinerary should change and it should relent from the path
it is on, we will let everyone ah, ah, ah, ah, know
strangest things, "Loving The Alien" will also be part of this
tour de force. So ring those radio stations and ask them to play a "Complicated
Game" for you!
Another release for Icehouse fans to get a hold of will be the extensive
Icehouse - The Singles, A Sides, and Selected B Sides. This will
be a three CD collection with the track listing as follows:
Can't Help Myself
We Can Get Together
Love In Motion
All The Way
Great Southern Land
Hey Little Girl
Over The Line
Taking The Town
Don't Believe Anymore
Stay Close Tonight
Baby, You're So Strange
Cross The Border
Too Late Now
Into The Wild
Man Of Colours
Nothing Too Serious
Crazy (Midnight Mix)
Touch The Fire
Anything Is Possible
Where The River Meets The Sea
Knockin' 'em Down
Love In Motion (with Christina Amphlett)
Pas De Trois
The release date for this set is still unknown and, as with
Full Circle, will be released in Germany only. We were a bit disappointed
) that the more rare B-sides such as "Perfect Crime,"
"Just A Word," and "Over My Head" were not included.
We are throwing it out to the subscribers to think of a nickname for this
rather loooong album title
It should be noted that The Berlin Tapes was released in New Zealand through
Roadshow Music. We have been told that "Heaven" will be released
to radio stations in New Zealand but not to retailers.
Berlin closed the Sydney season on 23 December 1995 to a packed house!
All around, everyone feels it was a success with audiences going away
with more on their minds than a pleasant experience. The band that performed
the music for Berlin during the Sydney run was: Iva Davies, Max Lambert
(piano), Adrian Wallis (cello), Rachel Valentine (cello at selected performances),
David Chapman (guitar), Steve Bull (bass guitar), and Paul Wheeler (drums).
The following songs were taken from The Berlin Tapes to be performed live:
"All The Way," "Heaven," "Sister Europe,"
"Really Good Time," "Loving The Alien," "Complicated
Game," and "All Tomorrow's Parties."
Berlin then travelled over to Auckland, New Zealand to play at the Aotea
Centre from the 24th thru the 27th of January. We have heard that ticket
sales went through the roof and, again, the boys entertained a packed
house every night! This time around, the band was Iva Davies, Max Lambert,
Adrian Wallis, and Steve Morgan.
Next on the Berlin agenda is Canberra. The show is slated to be performed
at the Canberra Theatre from the 21st thru the 24th of February.
After that A.C.T., Berlin will travel to Melbourne for a stint at the
Comedy Theatre. The dates for this run are the 29th of February thru the
9th of March. Other sites, such as Adelaide and Brisbane, have been mentioned
in negotiations, as well as an appearance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
No dates have been confirmed at this time.
Radio and Television
There is not much to report here as of yet. Various radio stations have
taken it upon themselves to play not only "Heaven" but "All
The Way" and "All Tomorrow's Parties."
Again, we are awaiting news from New Zealand on the media appearances
Iva and the band may have made there. We are sure that things will pick
up again in Australia on the media front for Icehouse once Berlin begins
its jaunt around to various cities.
Simon Lloyd has gone to England! He is working in the field of computers
- perhaps his true calling! - and his plans to return to Australia are
unknown. If Simon should work with Iva and Icehouse in the future, we
will let everyone know.
Paul Wheeler was the percussionist for the Sydney run of Berlin. He enjoyed
the show and had a great time doing something a bit different. Indelibly
printed on Paul's memory is opening night when Paul had a very unique
experience! This is what he told us:
"We all had to take a bow. The Sydney Dance Company come out and
they all stand in a line and take a bow. Then we come out and stand in
front of them and take a bow. Then Graeme Murphy, Iva, and Max Lambert
stood forward and took one. Then they stood back and we all took one together.
Then the next thing the lights went out and then back on. There I was
standing on the stage. The rest of the band had walked off and I'm there
with the Sydney Dance Company behind me. So I didn't know what to do.
I'm just looking around
so I just took a bow. Then I just ran off.
So that was a good opening night!"
Paul is learning how to "tickle the ivories!"
He is now on tour with the Shock Poets, promoting both their new single
"Should Have Never Bothered You," and album Bait. Due to his
commitment to this tour, Paul was unable to go to New Zealand. If he should
rejoin the Berlin Band, we shall gladly inform everyone.
Stephen Morgan has been playing about town with his band, White Shooga.
He's also been working with a fellow by the name of Pete Cupples. Teaching
bass is on his schedule, as well as working in the studio with some up-and-coming
Most recently, Steve was playing bass in the Berlin show in New Zealand.
We are waiting to hear who will be in the band for the Canberra/Melbourne
Steve and his wife Caroline have recently moved to a larger home and were
planning on a week's holiday to Queensland.
Paul Gildea has been very busy! Pencilled in Paul's schedule has been
performing and recording demos with Daryl Braithwaite. Paul had never
worked with Daryl before but came close to it once. A month before Paul's
son, Oliver, was born, Daryl asked Paul to join his band for a twelve
week tour. Paul had to turn down the offer due to the imminent arrival
Fans of Mr. Gildea may have also seen him on the telly with Rick Price.
He is also one half of an acoustic duo with a friend. Melbourne area fans
should keep their eyes and ears peeled for Paul as he says he's been playing
four to six nights a week. Paul may join the Berlin Band should the show
hit Melbourne. We hope to see this eventuate so that fans can enjoy Paul's
wonderful talent on the guitar once again!
David Chapman was the guitarist for the Sydney run of Berlin. He enjoyed
it, particularly the "vibe" the Opera House exudes. One of his
fondest memories of Berlin was Paul Wheeler's opening night solo bow with
the Dance Company! David explained that when the lights go off, it is
"pitch black" on stage. To leave the stage, the guys would group
together and walk off. Somehow Paul got left behind and David reckons
he had never laughed so hard seeing Paul up there alone with the Sydney
Dance Company, taking a bow to thunderous applause!
Other than Berlin, David is involved with building onto his studio, Zig
Zag. David also created three different themes for the ABC (Australian
Broadcasting Company) News. Two of the themes have Adrian Wallis on cello
and another (which David termed "the nicest but the least played")
has an oboe portion played by Iva. Paul Wheeler plays drums and filing
cabinet on the ABC theme most often played. David says Paul is a "fantastic
filing cabinet player!"
David was full of praise for the job Louise Stovin-Bradford has done working
for Iva and Icehouse. He said her work was "fantastic" and we
would have to agree!
Iva Davies has recently been likened to an angel, a godlike presence,
an ethereal being, and other such heavenly adjectives. Berlin has entertained
the audience, caused them to ponder the meaning of the ballet, and has
been a spectacular showcase for Iva's talents. It has also served as a
reminder to the Australian music industry and even to some of Icehouse's
fans that there is a very good reason why Iva's career spans over two
decades and why Icehouse have the biggest selling album by a group in
Did Iva enjoy Berlin? He did and was pleased by the fact that during the
Sydney run the crowds grew larger, rather than smaller! One particular
night the crowd seemed to be "stacked with everyone's friends"
and at the curtain call everyone on stage was showered with flowers.
Iva also told us about one night when there was a mishap with two of the
dancers but, as professionals must do, the show went on. "Lea Francis
has a sort of fight, a pas de deux, with Carl Plaisted and it actually
is sort of a rape scene while I'm singing 'Really Good Time.' It was a
kind of sarcastic commentary on it. There's lots of belting and mock kicking
and punching. On one particular night their timing was a bit out for one
reason or another and Carl actually connected with a kick. We thought
he'd broken Lea's nose. Anyway, there's blood everywhere and they continued
on. I couldn't work out why nobody was watching me anymore! Nobody was
watching me while I was singing and I was going, 'What's going on here?'
It was because Lea was carrying on with blood everywhere and it transpired
later that she connected later, by accident, in the same piece with her
fist and broke one of Carl's teeth! It was a nasty little three and a
Iva cited "Complicated Game" as a favorite part of the evening
for him. It should be noted that Iva performed some of these shows while
ill. He was visited with an attack of vertigo that he could not shake,
despite tests, doctors, and various suggestions. The lighting, which can
get very hot for those on stage, was adjusted to help ease his situation
but the dizziness persisted. The Sydney run ended with no reason discovered
as to why Iva was suffering from this odd ailment. More "bizarre
tests" (as he termed them) are due for him in February. We are waiting
to see how he went in New Zealand.
Iva also felt the album was received well and was quietly proud of it.
Glenn A. Baker, a leading Australian music historian, named The Berlin Tapes as "the best album of 1995."
As for the complete Berlin soundtrack being put together and released,
Iva says he may still speak with Laurie Dunn about it. However, he isn't
completely convinced that there is a market for such a release. There
are still no plans for a video release.
So what is next for Iva? He told us he may write some theatre music with
Max Lambert. Max has been asked to write music for a new play and Iva
may be involved in that.
Mr. Multi-Talented is also working on wrapping up the production of the
album for the band formerly known as Stoneyard. They have changed their
name to something (Cradle Space?) Iva isn't quite convinced by and he
said he may "lobby" to have them change it again! (Hey! We hear
the name "Prince" is available!) He may also do some guitar
work and backing vocals for this album.
There is no news yet on a release date for Simon Leadley's album (featuring
tracks by Iva and David Chapman). We'll keep trying to get more information
about this CD.
A new Icehouse studio album
is it in the works? No
us he's not too "keen" to undertake such a huge project at the
moment and would rather work with Max on the theatre music. Creating The
Berlin Tapes has shown Iva that he "enjoys making beautiful music."
He said the next album won't be "another Big Wheel" (vaguely
disdainful tone of voice here) but rather something more with the sound
and flavor of The Berlin Tapes.
Christmas for Iva and his family was spent at home. He was asked if he
got anything good for Christmas and his response was that he got a few
"strange things." A barbeque cover was one of his examples but
we thought that wasn't so strange as we'd heard Mr. Davies is actually
an excellent grillist. He debunked this rumor, saying he is "a total
non-cook and proud of it." Brynn received her first Barbie and was
thrilled by it! Iva says, "There's something about those things.
They must put chemicals or something in them." The trip to Fiji did
So the fans in Australia will have to pray Berlin comes to their
town, Americans will have to pray Berlin comes to the Olympics,
and the Europeans will have to pray that the Singles collection
heightens European interest in Icehouse! These prayers are certain to
break the sky in two
and that's what's happenin'!