Natalie Cole | Adelaide Cabaret FestivalPhotos - Kwaku Alston

The special guest at this year's Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Natalie Cole, could hardly be described as a cabaret performer. Born into American music royalty, Natalie has, in a career spanning 35 years, stepped well away from the shadow of her father, legendary crooner Nat King Cole, to become a respected recording and concert performer.

Her ample vocal dexterity and innate sense of lyrics and phrasing have helped her cross over between pop, soul, jazz and rhythm & blues. Nine Grammy Awards are proof of her success and ability.

The concert she presented to a capacity opening night crowd at the Festival Theatre was never disappointing.

At 60 years of age, Natalie Cole took to the stage looking slim and elegant, with a voice strong and pure.

Making it clear that this was going to be an evening to sit back and relax, she promised some of the great American songs covering several generations.

From Frank Sinatra to the indisputable influence of her late father, she delivered a carefully, well-structured performance.

The highlights were undoubtedly a beautiful rendition of Smile (originally written by Charlie Chaplin) and of course the now legendary duets with her father, Walkin' My Baby Back Home and Unforgettable (with video footage).

L-O-V-E had the audience clapping along enthusiastically, but it wasn't until towards the end of the show that Natalie allowed the performance to become less structured and performed a lengthy jazz improvisation with members of her band. Her vocals shone through, clear and pure.

At the second, and final encore, asking the audience what they wanted to hear, she performed an unrehearsed version of Mona Lisa, one of the truly great American songs. Beautiful and tender - this was unforgettable.

Natalie Cole performed with the Adelaide Art Orchestra and members of her band.

This concert was filmed by Foxtel and will air on the Bio Channel on Saturday 26 June.

2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival presents
Natalie Cole

Venue: Festival Theatre
Dates/Times: 12 & 13 June 8pm
Bookings: Bass 131 246

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