Etta James tribute show At Last comes to Ballina

Vika Bull will perform the Etta James show At Last at Ballina on June 21 and also at Twin Towns Services Club on June 20.
Vika Bull will perform the Etta James show At Last at Ballina on June 21 and also at Twin Towns Services Club on June 20.

ETTA James is considered the original superstar.

Over her long career she showed herself to be a prodigy who was able to excel in every musical genre she sang in.

At Last is a tribute show that tells James's dramatic life story and features 22 of her best songs.

Performed by Australian singer Vika Bull, the show is named after James's biggest hit.

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Vika Bull has been performing the show for two and half years.

"The show covers her whole life, from her birth to her death," she said.

"There is a lot of material to cover because she had such a busy life and a long musical career; she was on stage for over 50 years and in so many styles.

"She sang R'n'B, soul, rock, gospel, funk. She did everything.

"But the she also hit rock bottom and went through a really dark period in her life."

At Last has allowed Vika Bull to learn more about Etta James's life and career.

"She had a very young mother, and that made her street-wise and a great singer," Vika said.

"I had no idea of what she went through. I was introduced to her music when I was 17-years old.

"I listened to all her records and studied her voice, but I had no idea what happened to her, her addiction and how it nearly destroyed her.

"What I like about her is that it didn't destroy her.

"She was strong enough to give everything up and continue singing."

The show's script was written by writer and comedian John Livings, and his partner Mora Bennet is one of the producers of the show.

At Last will be performed upstairs at the Ballina RSL Club on Sunday, June 21, from 8.30pm. Tickets are $45.



Etta James was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, R&B, soul, rock'n'roll, jazz and gospel.

Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as The Wallflower, At Last, Tell Mama, Something's Got a Hold on Me, and I'd Rather Go Blind, for which she wrote the lyrics.

She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album Seven Year Itch.

James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock'n'roll, and was the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards.

She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008.

Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.

James has influenced a wide variety of musicians, including Diana Ross, Christina Aguilera, and Janis Joplin, as well as British artists The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith, Joss Stone, Rita Ora and Adele.

She was diagnosed with leukemia in early 2011. She died on January 20, 2012, days before her 74th birthday.

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