Excuse the delay. I’ve been sitting around doing nothing…
My Friend The Chocolate Cake – Heath Ledger Theatre, Perth
Let’s put this one first. When you’re in tears at the end of the show, members of the band are bawling and others in the theatre are dabbing their eyes, you know it’s been a pretty good night. It was the last for this unusual band and the theatre was perfect for them. Don’t expect a comeback special any time soon but a reformation to honour a Melbourne Football Club premiership has not been ruled out.
Bob Dylan – Perth Arena
Two things struck me as I waited after taking early to my row three seat. One was the beautiful stage setting. And then as I looked at my phone DYLAN-WIFI came up in Select A Wireless Network – I clicked on it and got the password in one go – it was BobDylans115thDream. Bob and I are now Facebook friends and message constantly, he LOVES it when I quote Dylan lyrics back at him*. The show was great and from my vantage point I could see that Bob was enjoying himself – revealed in part by little fist pumps with multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron. It was also good to see the work of guitarist Charlie Sexton up close. Highlights included Tryin’ To Get To Heaven, Love Sick and Make You Feel My Love from Time Out Of Mind, an album I’ve become obsessed by.
Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters – Riverside Theatre, Perth
Plant was in good voice and the band, including guitarists Liam Tyson and Justin Adams, was sensational in this somewhat underestimated venue. The crowd was appreciative but had some strange elements in it. At one point Plant was introducing a song, talking about the swamp music of Louisiana and Leadbelly when a bloke yelled, “Play some Led Zeppelin!”
“Can someone help that man to the door,” said Plant.
The Zep fan didn’t need help. He just got up and left. He’d had enough. Bugger these artists who play their new stuff. He returned sheepishly a minute later when he realised the song Plant was leading into was Gallows Pole from Led Zeppelin lll.
Many highlights and it really was something to hear Whole Lotta Love.
Albert Lee – Charles Hotel, Perth
Every old muso, blues hound, vinyl lover and rock fan in Perth was crammed into the Charles to see one of the heroes. It turns our Lee is the best kind of guitar hero… not a show-off… he’s also a very good singer. The set-list was pretty close to his 2014 release Live At The Idirium. An uplifting evening.
Daniel Champagne – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Champagne does incredible things with the guitar and I’m probably contradicting myself when I say I loved watching him show off. Good songs, good stage presence in a cosy little venue. And he’s coming to Fremantle in 2019.
Dionne Warwick – Riverside Theatre, Perth
A thought came to me during this beautiful performance. Imagine if Hal David and Burt Bacharach had never met or had decided to become lawyers or butchers or something. The world is a better place because of their songs – for you and for me. Warwick’s son David Elliot played drums in the band and displayed his excellent singing voice while his daughter Cheyenne enhanced the evening when she performed with her grandma.
Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, John Curtin College of the Arts, Fremantle: masterful playing. Peter Busher – Mustang Bar: the bar’s 19th birthday I think. That means 20 this year and hopefully more of Busher and band. David Sedaris – Regal Theatre: wonderful readings and a couple of filthy jokes. Djuki Mala – Teatro, Russell Square, Perth: part of the Fringe Festival: inspiring, moving and, most of all, funny AND Steve Hensby Band, Fremantle Long Table dinner: difficult gig but they looked and sounded great.
- I made some of that Dylan wifi stuff up.