Concert Review: SHEENA EASTON (Pepperdine Malibu)

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by Lawrence Lucero on October 27, 2023

in Concerts / Events,Theater-Los Angeles,Tours


Grammy Award-winning Pop and Broadway musical star Sheena Easton gave a disarrayed performance at the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts on the Pepperdine University Campus in Malibu last night, Thursday, October 26. Wearing a form-fitting short sparkling teal dress, she shared the stage with four musicians and a male vocalist. Sadly, the evening never truly gelled. After opening with one of the many covers of the setlist, in which she turned her back to the audience and boorishly bumped her hips side to side, Easton announced in her embarrassing self-deprecating humor that she only had a few hits, so she was going to steal other’s and hope we would confuse them for her own. A better strategy might have been to begin with one of her own hits to assure the audience of the reason that they came. This was the beginning of several misfires that composed her act.

She next went into her hit, “Strut.” Curiously, her vocals sounded higher pitched than I remembered, and the arrangement was flat and underserved the song. A slower and sultrier reimagining would have been far more interesting. The sound design also did not help. Easton was repeatedly distracted by it in her performance. There was only one volume. Loud. There were no nuances. After some further banter with “being dragged to a Thursday night show to see someone you don’t know,” and boob jokes, she went into some love songs. Aside from “My Baby Takes the Morning Train” which she sang as her next to the last number, “It Must Have Been Love” was her finest singing. Notably, Easton graciously paid tribute to Prince for his influence on her life and career, singing “Nothing Compares 2 U” as a duet with her male vocalist. She also sang the duet “We’ve Got Tonight” she had recorded with Kenny Rogers. Sadly, she has lost her vocal line. Having shifted to a strident belt, her former sound is unrecognizable.

The remainder of the evening was a sheared down medley of more of her hits and a cover of The Emotions’ “Best of My Love” before singing the aforementioned “…Morning Train.” Joking with the audience how she was going spare us the whole “leaving the stage bit to come out for a standing ovation and an encore, so get up on your feet!” she concluded with “For Your Eyes Only.”

It is disappointing to see an artist with such a successful career and over fifteen albums to present such an unpolished act with so many covered songs and in such dire need of a producer/director with a strong vision, a musical arranger, and a designer, especially when contemporaries such as Pat Benatar, Terri Nunn, and Debbie Harry are still out there doing it with style and panache.

photos from previous concert courtesy of Pepperdine

Sheena Easton
Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts, Pepperdine University Campus
24255 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu
reviewed on Thursday, October 26, 2023
for future events, call 310.506.4522 or visit  Pepperdine

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