When I heard Tim Freedman was doing a Harry Nilsson tribute show I was curious. A fan of both it seemed a good thing. No one I knew was interested, it's pretty niche I guess. Then a friend was going with other friends and there was a spare seat at their table. So despite a busy and tiring week I left work and headed for Lizotte's.
Tim has previously done a tribute to Randy Newman, another songwriter I adore. Nilsson had released a tribute album to Newman in the late 60s, so this was the genesis for the Nilsson show. And what a show it was.
His style and voice worked beautifully with the work. It was an interesting set, with a mix of Nilsson and Newman songs. The Newman songs did feel a bit cheaty, and he certainly didn't exhaust Nilsson's catalogue, but I love Newman so it did make me smile. Of the Nilsson songs, written or recorded, I knew almost all of them. Although some I had no idea that he had written.
In between songs Tim told stories of Nilsson's life...as Nilsson. It mostly worked, but he needed to work on his accent. This he admitted towards the end of the show. Nilsson was quite the character with a tragic life, but in the short time he was here he made amazing music and got up to a lot of fun. He hung out a lot with other musos, including the Beatles. He indulged in a famous lost weekend with John Lennon and worked musically with Paul McCartney. I knew that Keith Moon and Mama Cass died in the same bed, but I didn't know that bed belong to Nilsson!
I could have sat all night and listened to the stories and songs. The range was impressive and who doesn't love Everybody's Talkin'? Freedman did a pretty good job on it.
The second set was all Tim and The Whitlams, a lovely mix of hits and the melancholy. No Hamburgers, but Louis Burdett always has me jumping!
So in all, quite the experience, I would have like more Nilsson and less Whitlams (been there, done that!).