Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fashionably Late Never Works

Ok I'll admit it; I was at home watching tv at around 8.00pm, the listed start time for Sarah Blasko on Wednesday night. I'd channel surfed to the Biggest Loser and they were showing one of the contestants doing the Canyon Swing in NZ. 'Hey I've done that!' I exclaimed as he lamented if the industrial strength harness would hold 100kgs whilst peering over the ledge 109m from the ground.

Fully expecting a support act before the main event, I'd planned an 8.30-8.45 arrival, for an expected 9.00 start. Driving past the venue my first thought was that there weren't many people milling outside, however by the time I made my way in, the lobby was filled at which point I thought the support had completed. My seat was dead centre five rows from the front and I began talking to my mate from work where I was informed that I'd missed half the show and was the middle of the intermission! Much like a kid being told Santa doesn't exist -but without the tears, just- my heart sank, shoulders drooped and I began cursing myself. Serves me right!

Needless to say, the 2nd half was brilliant, with the special guest being Glenn Richards from Augie March performing 3 songs with Sarah (one from each artist's catalogue and a cover)

Not to be beaten by my stupidity, once the show completed I was determined to see it in it's entirety. Without time to plan, I chose to book 2 tickets as the auto-allocation discriminated against a single ticket purchase, pushing you to the 2nd last row in a 3 seat block, next to one can only guess, a canoodling couple, instead of 5 rows closer. Unfortunately I only realised this after I'd already purchased the single. At midnight I had 3 tickets to go to a show that I was the only confirmed attendee.

I managed to convince my brother to head along, but couldn’t find a taker for the final ticket. We arrived well before 8.00 and I marvelled at the elegance of the National Theatre. Polite, formally dressed ushers who have no doubt grown old and classy with the establishment, directed a predominately young crowd into the auditorium.

The band’s classical section consisted of a French horn, viola, flute, cello and double bass, all sourced locally from Melbourne, while usual suspects Jeff de Araujo (percussions/drummer) and Robert Cranny (guitar/piano) rounded out the ensemble. With the richer sounds of the strings and subtleties of the flute and French horn, old favourites were given a new sound and were somewhat clearer than at the larger Forum last year. Personal favourites ‘All Coming Back’, ‘Cinders’, ‘At Your Best’ and ‘Perfect Now’ were the standouts from the first half.

After a brief intermission, the special guest was scheduled to make an appearance. Expecting a repeat from the previous night, I was shocked and excited to see Tim Rogers make an appearance fresh from the US. His presence on stage lifted the crowd a couple of notches and it was interesting to see -what I would’ve thought to be an unlikely pairing- perform. It worked well and I’m curious as to the guests selected for the other shows.

The last 2 songs for the night, ‘Always On This Line’, ‘Planet New Year’ (Ironically the new video clip features a friend of a friend who I think also directed the clip which is quite freaky) finished the night perfectly, while in the encore of ‘Your Way’ I marvelled at the percussion of just some claves? and shakers.

People may question if I get bored seeing the same artist so frequently, but out of the 3½ shows I’ve seen since the latest album, one’s been pretty much a large venue album launch with an 8 piece band, the next in a small gig with bare essential accompaniments and the final one as mentioned different again. Having said that, even if they were all the same I’d still be amongst the first in line to get tickets!