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REVIEW: That 90’s Show Unplugged

Review by Markus Hamence – Performance date: Sunday 9 July 2024, The Gov, Adelaide, South Australia

Checked into The Gov in Hindmarsh on a Sunday night for ‘That 90’s Show Unplugged’. It felt like walking through a time machine straight into the heart and smack-bang in the middle of the 1990s. The vibe was electric and the venue was almost full, not bad for a Sunday in Adelaide tbh. The Gov, with its rustic charm and legendary status in Adelaide’s live music scene, was the perfect venue for such an retro gig.

Now, I have seen That 90’s Show a few times at Adelaide Fringe, the show earlier this year was HUGE. Held in the Fantail in Gluttony, it’s quite stadium like. They are known for their big energy, voices and massive hit list. I’m always impressed by the dynamics of what they deliver. So, seeing the ‘unplugged’, well, I was curious to how it was going to be served to us.

Setting the Scene

The stage was set with 90’s drama, casual comfy grunge (Think the ‘Friends’ set), adorned with candles and furniture and lamps, evoking a cozy, laid-back atmosphere. The audience, a mix of Gen Xers and younger fans of the era, settled into their seats with drinks in hand, ready to be transported back to a time when grunge was king, and pop-punk ruled the airwaves.

John Paul James


Adelaide’s own John Paul James opened for the night’s entertainment. While his songs were not penned in the 90’s, he was born in that decade, so, musically there is a lot of influence through his songs that could have quite easily fitted into that era. John’s six song set was tight and engaging. All original work, his songs hit the audience well. His banter with the crowd was great and authentic. The singer, songwriter & guitarist is definitely someone to watch his upcoming gigs and music could well gain big populairty. Then, his humour came out when, announcing a song, asked us to be kind as the particular song had him playing his trumpet… This was super cute and fun. The tone for the night had been set.

The Performance

The seven piece group too to the stage and perched themselves on stools, it was fitting for the vibe. As the first chords rang out, our instant acknowledgement that it was Savage Garden’s ‘I Want You’, had us erupt in applause and cheers. The night’s lineup featured a stellar cast of local musicians, each bringing their unique twist to 90s classics. Ben Whittington on Vocal and Guitar, Rachel Vidoni with Vocals and Cello, Jode Langdon also on Vocals, Pete Lymbo on Guitar and Vocals, Russell James with Keys and Vocals, Lee Nash on Bass and backing it all up, Michael Giuffreda on the Drums. From acoustic renditions of Nirvana’s ‘Come as You Are’ to heartfelt covers of Alanis Morissette’s ‘Ironic’, the performances were a masterful blend of authenticity and creativity. These are some of Adelaide top musicians and acclaimed singers.

Highlights of the Night

  • Grunge Revival: The raw, stripped-down versions of grunge anthems were a highlight. Songs from Nirvana and Foo Fighters took on a new life in their acoustic form, revealing layers of emotion often overshadowed by their original heavy guitars. Ben took these under his wing, he can do ‘No wrong’ AND please check out his new original single on Spotify… These guy is a talent beyond Adelaide.
  • Pop: Hearing acoustic versions of Britney’s ‘Baby, One More Time’ and George Michael’s ‘Freedom’ was a fabulous surprise. The softer renditions brought a fresh perspective to these energetic tunes, and the crowd sang along with infectious enthusiasm.
  • Rock: Bon Jovi’s ‘Bed Of Roses’ by Ben was insane. And Robbie Williams ‘Angels’ by Russel, just sensational.
  • The Unexpected Gems: Some of the night’s most memorable moments came from unexpected song choices. A hauntingly beautiful cover by Rachel of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ (Which I had heard only a few nights before by Macy Gray at Hindley St Music Hall) and a soulful rendition of Bachelor Girl’s ‘Buses And Trains’ showcased the versatility of the performers and the timeless quality of the 90s hits. But the ‘In replacement of a break’ we got two solo spots which showcased Jode & Pete belting out ‘More Than Words’. It was a showstopper.
  • Ballad Bangers: ‘Nothing Compares To You’ by Jode and ‘Chain’ by Rachel, don’t even get me started… They two sung the guts out of these iconic songs like they were their own.
That 90’s Show

Audience Interaction

The intimate setting of The Gov allowed for wonderful interactions between the performers and the audience (more-so than the venue at Gluttony). Between songs, musicians bantered with us and each other aadding a layer of warmth and relatability to the evening. The sing-alongs were a testament to the lasting impact of the decade’s music, with everyone joining in for iconic choruses. A bevy of punters even took to the dance floor and smashed it like it was 1996. The energy was fierce.


‘That 90’s Show Unplugged’ at The Gov was more than just a 90’s cover show; it was a communal journey back to a decade that continues to heavily influence music and culture. The talented musicians, combined with the intimate and welcoming atmosphere of The Gov, made for an unforgettable night. Whether you’re a die-hard 90s fan or just looking to enjoy some great music, this show is a must-see next time around.

Final Thoughts

The finale needs a mention, it was a six(ish) minute 90’s medley that covered 13 major hits from the decade, everything from ‘I Swear’, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and ‘I’ll Make Love To You’ As the last notes of the Mariah’s ‘Hero’ faded it concluded the mega-medley and also the evening. A loud appreciative applause ran through the venue… We’d all just shared something special, a nostalgic trip that felt both personal and collective. ‘That 90’s Show Unplugged’ played music from the past and it rekindled memories and emotions, reminding us why the 90s were such a golden era for music.

Next time you see a poster on a street wall or The Gov’s famed toilet corridor, Facebook event on your feed, or however you find your gigs, next time you see ‘That 90’s Show Appearing At…’ Get along, they are waaaaaay to good to miss.

Check out the full gallery from the evening right here!

That 90’s Show’s Ben Whittington with Markus Hamence 2024 – The Gov
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