LOCATION: Civic Theatre, Newcastle
DATE: Friday 15 May, 2009
WITH: Nole, Vince
I have only seen Paul Kelly once before, many years ago in a concert at the Domain at Sydney, he featured with a lot of other artists. So, really I have not been to a Paul Kelly concert. I would not call myself a fan, but I do love his gentle art of Australian storytelling, most of his music I have are earlier stuff on vinyl!
The Civic is always a great venue for performers and this was no exception. His support was a blues, roots artist called Charlie Parr, he was excellent, specialising more in 1920s American blues, he was funny, dry and no frills, just a man and his guitar. He also told a funny tale of meeting his childhood hero, Evel Knievel, a tale which would lose something in the translation repeated here. I now have a copy of his album, 1922, which I can highly recommend if that is your thing!
Paul Kelly played for over 2 hours, with at least one encore (Vince??). His band was tight, with his nephew, the gorgeous Dan Kelly, Ash Naylor, Peter Luscombe (sigh) AND Vika Bull as backing and sometimes lead vocals. Paul and a guitar is all you really need, and indeed parts of the set were just that, but the band notched things up a little and Vika took it to another level all together. She was simply stunning - in looks and vocals, sometimes taking lead vocals and giving his tunes a whole other meaning and direction. You name the tune, it was sung, it most certainly was a greatest hits tour, but included the little known gems and the big 'hits'. There is no doubt Paul Kelly is a national treasure, this evening proved it completely.