Review By Cassandra Hale
Winter had dealt us a freezing Melbourne night and the breeze blowing off the bay was fierce, but it did nothing to dampen the excitement of seeing Billy Ocean play our Iconic Palais Theatre. It has been a few years since he last graced our shores, and the jammed packed theatre was a testament to Melbourne’s adoration of seeing Billy live in the flesh.
There was not a spare seat for love or money as I made my way in to enjoy the evenings support. The duo, Mutherson, gave us an opening set of classic covers including Fleetwood Macs’ Landslide and Waves by Dean Lewis. Their thirty-minute set certainly got the fans warmed up and ready for the Billy Ocean onslaught that we were all waiting for. The buzz in the venue was electric as the clock ticked down to showtime, voices grew louder as excitement levels rose. It was then that Australian radio veteran Gavin Wood took to the stage to start proceedings.
With introductions done Billy graced the stage wearing a full white suit to match his goatee and dreadlocks. All charisma and sophistication, his 1000 watt smile as wide as the room as he launched into One World, followed by Love Really Hurts Without You which had the crowd instantly on their feet singing along. Working through a jam-packed list of hits, of which there are many, Billy delivered There’ll Be Sad Songs and Love Zone, engaging with the fans with waves and hellos and even a kiss on the hand to one lucky lady. Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car made an early appearance and had the theatre on its feet for a rousing sing-along followed closely by Colour Of Love and Red Light. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the cover of the Bob Marley classic, No Woman No Cry make an appearance, the venue swaying in their seats, everyone taking in the Jamaican vibes clearly enjoying this added extra.
Mystery from the latest album One World was next, and then the sublime Suddenly, which melted hearts and brought out all the feels. The stage awash with blue lights setting a stunning background to Billy in his white suit crooning to this mega hit. One of my personal favourites, Loverboy, was next. It had Billy cutting all the moves as he worked the stage with ease, the crowd applauded with gusto with every spin or piece of fancy footwork he performed. Let’s talk about the phenomenal band that accompanied the show, including Billy’s daughter on backing vocals. While I only had eyes for Billy, they certainly kept the show running like clockwork and provided the perfect accompaniment to each and every song. With sensational saxophone solos and celestial harmonies, I was left well impressed by the amount of talent on stage.
When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going was started with a little sing-along from the crowd, it felt like we were a part of the show and everyone was happy to oblige. This song was a fan favourite, and you could see smiles for miles as Billy sang and danced up a storm. Still shaking hands and even signing a record for one fan to treasure for ever, Billy was ever the people person, and everyone adored him for it. After the magnificent band were introduced, Billy mentioned how cold Melbourne was and asked if we would “like to warm up with a trip to the Caribbean.” Ahh, yes please Billy!! Of course, there was no introduction needed as Caribbean Queen closed out the night to rapturous applause, the Palais capacity on their collective feet to sing and dance the night away. Billy so appreciative of each and every person, high fiving his way along the front row and professing his love for us as he left the stage.
The satisfaction that comes with seeing a live show of this calibre is still mind blowing to me, seeing an idol from my childhood still sounding and looking so amazing is a testament to Mr Ocean himself. The joy that his show brought to me, and every other person in the theatre was evident as I left the venue hearing people singing and smiling with exhilaration. Thank you Billy Ocean, I took a step back in time, relived my youth and I loved every minute.
You can still Catch Billy Oceans last three shows.
Darling Harbour Theatre, Sydney
Thu 22 June, 2023
Royal Theatre, Canberra
Thu 25 June, 2023
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Thu 27 June, 2023
Tickets available now