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Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2018, Australian Tour, Cassandra Hale, Live Review, Matt Allan, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena, TEG Live
With Melbourne being the final destination of the worldwide Graffiti U tour the fans turned out in droves to see our very own Keith Urban in his last two shows of the tour at Rod Laver Arena. With the tour running since June last year it was an honour to have it finish in Melbourne and we couldn’t wait to see the new songs live. Night one was a packed house, with cowboy boots proudly on display with toes tapping as Julia Michaels took to the stage. Julia played a huge role in writing on Graffiti U together with writing song for the who’s who of the music industry to the likes of Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez. While tonight she enjoyed singing her own songs, we were also treated to a few she had written for other musicians, which made for a 45-minute set that most of the expanding crowd could sing along with.
Looking young and carefree, Julia bounced over the stage with the ease of a performer with many years of practice, and while she openly discussed her battle with anxiety you would never have known. Even writing a song about it on her new album Inner Monologue Part 1 aptly titled Anxiety. Happy was another one that had the fans eating out of her hands. With tattooed arms and a gorgeous spotty dress Julia treated us to a small snippet of her song writing magic, playing Bad Liar, 2002, Love Myself, Good For You and Sorry in a montage that had everyone singing along. Even taking a fans phone on stage and filming from her prime position, a lovely memory that the phones owner will treasure forever. Finishing up her set with Issues I had a feeling it wouldn’t be the last we would see of Julia for the night, but more on that later.
Opening with Never Comin Down the stage burst to life as Keith and his band made their presence known. Days Go By and Coming Home featuring Julia Michaels saw out the first three songs. Then it was time for a chat and Keith’s time to scan the audience and read out the signs the adoring fans had lovingly made. Not being able to read some he had his trusty spotlight on hand to light up the signs, falling on two girls waving their wares on the floor. Their sign read that that they would donate $1000 to the drought relief fund if they could come onstage. Keith got them up there in a shot together with their boyfriends for a chat and a selfie, anything to help out our struggling farmers!
Then on with the show, the stage set up was sensational with screens flashing every colour and pattern imaginable as Somewhere In My Car and Long Hot Summer rang out, Keith sounding fantastic, but who would expect anything less. Parallel Line, Put You In A Song and my favourite You Gonna Fly, the hits kept flying out, Keith’s band exemplary, all multi-instrumentalists and extremely talented singers to which we heard over the course of the evening. Keith’s shredding skills never fail to wow the crowd, and with more guitar changes than I’ve had hot dinners, there was a guitar for every occasion. Slinging them on and off like second nature, his ease with his guitars made it seemed like an extension of his body, comfortably at home slung across his hips. Oozing sexiness he had the girls and some of the guys swooning, with his tight tee and even tighter jeans, he really is the complete package. As the lights dimmed to just a spotlight on stage Keith played an outstanding acoustic solo which leads into Stupid Boy, drawing the crowd in hanging on every word, you could hear the echo of the whole arena singing as one with Keith for this beautiful ballad. A cover of the 5 Seconds of Summer song Lie To Me saw Julia return to sing with Keith, a stunning number that wowed us all. Somebody Like You saw the keyboard player Nathan Barlowe take over the vocals with a mash-up of With Or Without You by U2 that had the crowd singing their hearts out. Then the house lights dropped and Keith asked how might we light this place up if the power went out? With our phones of course! within seconds Rod Laver was awash with mobile phones, lighting the place incredibly well, people power at its best as we sang Somebody Like You in unison.
Blue Ain’t Your Color was a fan favourite and Drop Top off the latest album saw Kassi Ashton appear on the big screen singing along, continuing with the car theme Cop Car was up next. The setlist was extensive and loaded with hit after hit and while I can’t mention them all lets’ just say no one left disappointed! Niall Horan’s song Slow Hands was sung by Keith and his guitarist, their voices absolutely amazing. The Max cover of Lights Down Low saw the bass player step up for a turn, what a huge amount of talent on one stage. As The Fighter rang out we saw Carrie Underwood pop up on the big screens singing her parts as Keith made his way through the fans to the rear stage treating the back half of the arena to an up-close mini-concert. We took over Carrie’s vocals for a sing along then Keith played Kiss a Girl/Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me/You Look Good In My Shirt/Jackie Chan to the delight of all the fans who became front row groupies just for a moment or two. Seeing Keith a few years ago I wasn’t surprised when he handpicked a young lady from the audience to give his guitar too, her face was happiness personified, pure joy, shock, and love all mixed in one. Nobody will be wiping that smile off her face for a long time to come. Keith made his way back to the stage for a few more songs, with at least 20 under his belt it was a show not easily matched and was still going strong. The stage screens moving to drop and cover the stage with Keith and the band playing from behind the screen which became transparent with the exception of some vertical lines. The effects were stunning as Gone Tomorrow (Here Today) was played from within the screen which then lifted back to the ceiling. With the flashing lights and special effects, you could easily think you were at a rave party and not a rock show. Wasted Time was blisteringly good, confetti canons launching at its finale, colourful paper raining down on the fans all singing along not wanting the night to end. As we were already over the two-hour mark it was inevitable that it was going to be over soon so no one wanted to waste a minute.
After a quick break Keith and the boys were back, and while Mr. Urban held your attention all night, full credit to his sensational band they were the glue keeping the show going with precision playing that makes the songs what they are. They are a cohesive well-polished unit pumping out the finest quality sound, keeping us on our feet enjoying every second. Texas Time was song one of the encore followed by Horses which finished out the night. Keith taking time to shake hands with many fans long after his band had departed the stage. Such a genuine guy whose Aussie spirit is alive and well, holding his fans in the palm of his hand all evening. Graffiti U was a rock show that knew no bounds, pushed every limit and ticked every box, Keith Urban is the ultimate musician and performer and we should be so proud that he calls Australia home!
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
Gallery By Matt Allan
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2018, Australian Tour, Live Review, Margaret Court Arena, Matt Allan, Melbourne, Miranda Allan, Secret Service PR
There was no way to get lost on the way to the show tonight; all you had to do was follow the excited crowd towards Margret Court Arena. There was a buzz in the air as people, myself included, started walking around trying to find the right door to go through, and funnily enough, join the crowds of sitting people in the middle of the General Admission area. As The stage got set up for the supporting act for the night, I tried finding somewhere with a good view for the night; but it wasn’t long before everyone started to stand up and rush up to the barricades’ as it was time for the supporting act, Eves Karydas, to come out.
Eves came out on stage and within seconds was already starting her first song, swaying around and getting comfortable on the stage. After two songs Eves said hi to her crowd and introduced herself and her two musicians on drums and the keyboard before announcing that she’ll be singing Wildest Ones, the closing track on her new album Summer Skins. The crowds, even if they weren’t there to see Eves, or didn’t even know who she was until she came onstage like myself seemed to really enjoy the music she was singing. She had a very chill way about her, very calm and confident, having a very clear and understandable voice, even the way she danced all over the stage carefree was the difference between a fun and boring experience.
Towards the middle of her set, she performed a cover of Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head, and personally, I think that that’s the song that everyone was most excited by. Everyone was singing and dancing around and having heaps of fun. The last song she performed for the night was Further Than Planes Fly, she explained to the crowd that she’d written this on the top deck of a bus in England after having a bad day at the studio. She was watching the planes flying overhead and she got a text from a guy she’d just met, all it said was ‘hi’, but it lit up her entire world.
It’s easy to say that all of her songs are extremely personal to her and all come from her experiences growing as a person and living. Once the song was over, she thanked the crowd one last time and walked off stage. The lights all turned on, exciting the crowd knowing that the next person onstage would be George Ezra. More and more people started filling up the stands and the floor in anticipation for the next set.
Within about forty minutes of waiting, the lights dimmed and La Traviata (composed by Giuseppe Verdi) filled the room and the long-awaited George Ezra skipped out onto the stage, followed by all his amazing musicians. All the members quickly found their instruments and started up straight away with Don’t Matter Now, instantly engaging his fans by encouraging them to clap and sing along with him. Soon after, the dreamy collection of English singer, songwriter and musician introduced himself and his lovely band and started off the night with the first story of many. He told the crowd that he was looking to write some new songs and decided that he didn’t just want to sit in a hotel and do it. ‘I just thought why are you staying at a hotel George when you can meet a complete stranger over the internet and stay in their spare room? It wasn’t until I was in the plane landing that I thought why the fuck have you done this George?’ And the next few songs were some that he had written while on this trip.
This ever-growing musician had all of his fans singing their lungs out the entire night, cheering, dancing and having a great time. Ezra had almost all the seats filled and the general admission standing area was all shoulder to shoulder but that didn’t stop anyone from enjoying their night and enjoying the music he was pumping out.
Later in the in the night he said that the next song would be Paradise, and he told another story to go with the song. He said that he was sick once during a tour and he was laying in his bed on the tour bus feeling sorry for himself, and this idea kept going through this head for a song so he recorded it on his phone and then forgot all about it. About 7 or 8 months go by and he finds it in his phone and makes Paradise. Such a beautiful song resulted in almost the entire arena holding up their phones with the torches up, lighting up the entire world for a song.
Towards the ending of the night, he performed the most desired songs by the crowd, Budapest, and Shotgun, resulting in the loudest singing by all the fans that it was almost impossible to hear George singing at all. Truthfully, these two last songs were the only ones that I knew going into this show tonight, but it was truly a great performance and show, and the music was fantastic. It’s easy to see that this is the best thing in his life and loves making, producing and performing music for his adoring fans.
Review Contributed by Miranda
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Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2018, Australian Tour, Drapht, Live Nation Australia, Live Review, Matt Allan, Melbourne, Miranda Allan, Rod Laver Arena, The Bandito Tour, Twenty One Pilots
Before the show had even begun there was already a buzz about, the crowd lined up for merch then moved along to eagerly await the dynamic duo of Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph. Almost everyone that I witnessed both on public transport and outside Rod Laver Arena had something relating to Twenty-One Pilots on. I noticed a trend of camouflage, yellow clothing and stripes being worn by a large amount of the die-heart fans, some going to the extreme length of dying their own hair bright yellow, two trends I myself failed to uphold, making me feel a tad out of place.
As the seats and floor started filling slowly, the opening act for the night took to the stage. Drapht (AKA Paul Reid) an Australian local that made the trip all the way from Perth. He started the night off by welcoming us all and giving an introduction from himself and his guitarist, Timothy Nelson. The set kicked off with Sing It (The Life of Riley), pumping up the crowd firstly but getting everyone in the pit to wave and clap their hands along with him, psyching everyone for what was to come later. Three songs into the set, Drapht invited Timothy to drop the strings and perform the song that they share on his new album Arabella Street. The portion of the crowd that knew Drapht was up the front and waving their arms with Paul for all six of the songs that they got to perform in their half-hour set. I think it’s easy to say that their popularity will be getting a rise after this tour.
The crowd buzzed and grew, filling up the whole arena while the 30-minute wait (that felt like hours) was used to set the stage up. Twenty-One Pilots were back in Melbourne tonight on The Bandito Tour promoting their new album Trench that blessed this world and all ears who heard it.
Finally, the build-up track started, lights went out and everyone went crazy as Mr. Josh Dun took the stage in his hoodie and a bandana covering his face like a bandito, holding a flaming torch and walking across the stage. Just like magic, the one and only Tyler Joseph seemed to appear standing on a car in the middle of the stage with his famous mask on.
The night kicked off with the first song from their new album Jumpsuit. As soon as Josh laid down the beat and the lights started flashing, the car that Tyler was once standing on lit on fire, gaining screams and cheers from the adoring fans, myself included. Towards the end of this song, Tyler went to his piano, slowing the song right down and playing and singing slowly.
If I was to sit here and talk about every song that they played, we’d be here all day; so I’ll just fangirl over the best bits of the night. During the third song of the night Fairly Local, Tyler danced his way over to his piano and sat down as a member of the crew came and placed a sheet over Tyler’s body and piano. With the drop of the song, he disappeared and then seconds later re-appeared 30 rows up to the left of the stage standing in the crowd still singing until the end of the song where he took his mask off, revealing his adorable face.
Three songs later Tyler performed a cover of Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love on the ukulele as a tour debut and honestly, I have never heard anything as beautiful. Another amazing song performed and executed was Car Radio towards the end of the night. Starting off the song perfectly with the little rap that everyone knew all too well. This was one of the biggest songs that went off, absolutely everyone in the whole arena was singing and rapping their hearts out and sounding so amazing as a collective. At the end of the song, Tyler hit us with a little more magic as he disappeared from the stage and started to climb up on a ledge that was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! He stood up on it and said hi to all sides of the crowd and finished off the song hard.
Although this concert played primarily their old songs, it was for their album Trench, and the songs that they did perform from that album were absolutely fantastic and it’s easy to say why the crowd went insane to every single song. I think Pet Cheetah was the best song performed from their new album as it just went off and had the whole audience singing at the top of their voices and dancing and jumping, the lighting was perfect, and it was performed better than it sounds on the track.
It’s little things that made the concert as good as it was. Tyler singing with his shirt over his head, jumping on top his piano, all his dancing, and how he constantly changed outfits to fit the songs. Also squaring up with the camera so it was projected on the big screens, standing at the edge of the crowd singing, and even making us boo at his lighting guy. And the way that Josh had so much energy drumming and flailing his arms everywhere, the backflip he did from the piano, how he constantly held a drumstick in the air or to his face, playing trumpet (which I wasn’t aware he could even do!) during We Don’t Believe What’s on TV, and of course… Josh getting shirtless!
The night turned out perfect and it was purely amazing to be able to look around and see as many people in one place to support the same thing and all there for the same reason. Looking around all I saw was phone lights, torches, and happy faces. It was the best night and I can’t wait to see them next time and hear what new music is to come.
Review Contributed by Miranda Allan
Gallery by Matt Allan
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Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2018, Ace Frehley, Festival Hall, Gene Simmons, Jodi Maree, KISS, Live Review, Matt Allan, Melbourne, TEG Live
There are fewer names in today’s music world that hold as much weight as that of Gene Simmons.
Having a lifetime of success with the band KISS, which he co-founded in 1973, and has had continued success as a singer, record producer, TV personality, actor, and entrepreneur.
Fast forward over 40 years and he is still a name synonymous with not only the KISS franchise but a whole persona of his own.
In 1978 KISS made an unprecedented move of having all four members released solo albums on the same day. They were heavily marketed and had the same overall design which kept them under the KISS banner. In this, the 40th anniversary year of the solo albums it was an absolute delight to have Gene visit Australia once again, being supported by none other than one of his brothers in Ace Frehley.
The night was billed as being a blast from the past spectacular and from the opening note it certainly lived up to its expectations.
Opening proceedings for the night, Ace made his entry onto the stage and jumped head first into Parasite. The mostly older crowd was singing along, although in a much more subdued fashion than in yesteryear I’d imagine.
Pulling out some absolute classics such as Hard Times, 2000 Man, Rock Soldiers and Love Gun in typically Ace fashion, he made light of having to use a lead, as he usually is rigged up fully wirelessly.
Moving through favorites such as New York Groove and Shock Me before giving the crowd a taste of his guitar genius in a blistering solo run. Amongst the electric blue lights and smoke Ace cut a figure of a guitar legend impressing the very attentive crowd. He certainly has not lost that amazing talent at age 67. Closing his set with two of KISS monster tracks in Detroit Rock City and Cold Gin one could well be forgiven for feeling a little nostalgic.
A brief interval ensued and when the house lights went out the crowd let out an intense roar. Gene came forth on the stage, cutting a striking figure as he’s towering silhouette was bathed in light.
With a booming, “Good evening Melbourne!!” he and his band featuring bandmates Phil, Ryan, Jeremy and Christopher all from Nashville Tennessee, leapt straight into the dynamic Deuce followed by Shout It Out Loud.
With a bit of essential Gene humor, he gave a quick plug to the comprehensive collection called The Vault which is now available, before delivering Are You Ready.
What happened next was something I did not expect. Having spoken about the stage musical School of Rock, which will be playing in Melbourne in November, Gene then called up a 10-year-old boy named Zane to play guitar on stage with them during Calling Dr. Love. Not only was he as “rock and roll” as they come, but he played flawlessly, not missing a single note.
The crowd farewell Zane from the stage with a huge round of applause and Gene took the time to introduce the band and take some media photos.
Next up on the journey back through time, was Radioactive and one of my personal favs Charisma with Almost Human thrown in between.
After more comedic banter, Gene proceeds to introduce to the stage another performer from School of Rock named Amy, who would perform a red-hot rendition of I Was Made For Loving You. This young lady has some pipes on her!!! Next came what I am sure was a highlight for some female VIP fans, who were given the opportunity to get up on stage and sing Do You Love Me, with one young girl declaring her adoration for the rocker, probably old enough to be her father!!
I, Long Tall Sally, and Plaster Caster were in the next bracket, with way more fans knowing these songs than I had anticipated Especially as some rarely if ever have been played before.
Love Theme From KISS and War Machine followed before it was time to get the VIP guys on stage for their turn to sing along with I Love It Loud, and boy did it look like they were absolutely loving it.
Mixing up the lyrics to make it more location friendly, She’s So European soon became She’s So Australian and took on a whole new spin.
Next was Let Me Go Rock And Roll with Ace making a return to the stage, alongside his former bandmate. All of the VIP fans then got up together and joined by the band, and the whole crowd, belted out Rock And Roll All Nite, for a cracker of a finale to an amazing night. Gene made sure to say KISS would be back in 2019.
For someone like me who grew up with KISS as an ever-present icon in music, this was a night of most epic proportion. Churning out hit after hit in absolutely fine form, it was a real pleasure to watch. At ages is 67 and 69 respectively, Ace and Gene totally nailed it as they have for generations, and as I hope they continue to do for as long as possible.
Review Contributed by Jodi Maree
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2017, Australian Tour, Cassandra Hale, DIESEL, Ferris Davis PRM, ICEHOUSE, Live Review, Matt Allan, Melbourne, Palais Theatre
With the super cell of weather expected it was with trepidation that I made my way to the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, hoping we would make it through the night without the need of a lifeboat to bail us out. It is one of my favourite live music venues and I knew I was in for a real treat tonight, with a double bill of Australian music at its finest with Diesel and Icehouse ready to take on the town.
Diesel himself recently celebrating 30 years in the industry made for the perfect opener, his songs well known to all. I sat back and enjoyed his hits such as Man Alive, 15 Feet of Snow, and a slowed version of Soul Revival, which was very warmly received. His mad shredding skills on display and a huge array of guitars to choose from, it really showcased just how brilliant a musician he is. Tip Of My Tongue was a definite favourite and it finished out with a sensational sing-a-long for all. Diesel did some tricky knocking work on his guitar creating some incredible sounds that echoed through the iconic establishment. If I had a hat I would take it off to you Diesel, a first class performance and a great warm up for the main event.
I don’t know where to begin, pardon the pun, but in all honesty I was literally blown away by how good tonight’s show was. The ultimate professionals in every sense of the word, the most amazing light show I have ever seen at the Palais, together with the crème de le crème of stage set ups made for a superb night of Australian rock. Opening with Icehouse, it was hit after hit, Mr Big, Hey Little Girl and Crazy to name a few. The band is in impeccable shape sounding technically perfect on every level. Iva Davies like a fine wine that just keeps getting better with time. Michael Paynter lent some tremendous vocals to the tight knit unit over the evening and was a standout on Man of Colours, with Iva joining him for a cameo on the oboe. The huge screen a delight to the senses, this show was the complete package not one thing overlooked. Iva did mention that they plan at least 12 months in advance to make sure they bring the best possible show with the best possible team, and it really shows.
The tour has sold out show after show and with only a few left in the run this year it has seen them play to no less than 300,000 people.
What a massive achievement not only for Icehouse but to the Australian fans who have turned up time and time again to support their love of live music. The banter with the crowd was terrific, jokes a plenty and a fantastic feel in the theatre across the evening. Consequently we learnt that Electric Blue was co written with John Oates of Hall & Oates fame, and went on to be a number 1 hit in Australia.
I Don’t Believe Anymore was a favourite of the night, Great Southern Land a visual delight, the screens in overdrive showcasing the beautiful country that we are lucky enough to call home. A little bit of band improvising saw a ripping version of Bowie’s Jean Jeanie followed by the T Rex classic Get it On. Everyone on their feet, singing and dancing as We Can Get Together rang out, we knew time was going to be tight due to noise restrictions and there was one very anxious man side of stage watching the clock, but alas they came back for one more, the sensational I Cant Help Myself, finishing with mere seconds to spare.
With so many hits packed into two hours I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that we really need look no further than our own backyard to find the finest musicians in the world.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale