Ben Folds: The Symphonic Tour Live with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, cond. Nicholas Buc (QPAC, 12 March 2020) Ben Folds and his piano… plus the QSO! A vibrant and versatile, heartfelt performance. Songs that came out particularly well with orchestral treatment included ‘Erase Me’, ‘Steven’s Last Night in Town’, and the traditionally improvised (now Brisbanised and symphonised) ‘Rock This Bitch’.…
Dylan Moran: Dr Cosmos Queensland Performing Arts Centre (5 December 2019) Irish comedian Dylan Moran was in fine, free-flowing form last night, gilding his societal observations with intelligent and rapid-fire absurdist exemplars while expounding on the generation gap, growing up in Ireland, accepting middle age, and the inherent failings of the male gender.
The Cat Empire’s Stolen Diamonds Tour Live at the Fortitude Music Hall, 19 October 2019 Let there be jumping. The Cat Empire rocked Brisbane with its unique blend of brass, beats, keyboards and vocals, unpacking new gems and improvising solos through a back catalogue that now spans twenty years. Highlights included ‘Barricades’, ‘Fishies’ and ‘Steal the Light’.
Sammy J’s Major Party National Tour live at the Brisbane Powerhouse, 19 July 2019 A shortish but well-constructed comedy show with limited audience participation and a topical (albeit slightly predictable) political bent. Sammy J is quick on his feet, but his true strength lies in musical humour. His songs—political or otherwise—are witty and wonderful.
American Utopia Tour by David Byrne, Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, 21 November 2018 Barefoot and brilliant, Byrne presents new songs and reworked Talking Heads classics in an energetically choreographed fusion of Brazilian beats and industrial sensibility. Complex, layered rhythms meet vocal resplendence. Virtuoso musicians in motion! Top three songs: ‘Lazy’; ‘Born Under Punches’; ‘I Zimbra’.
Roger Waters live at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre (Us + Them Tour, 7 February 2018) Roger Waters, not quite evergreen but certainly everpink and still a powerful presence, headed an audio-visual rock extravaganza showcasing songs from 1971 through to 2017. Highlights included a fervid repurposing of ‘Pigs (Three Different Ones)’ into a 10-minute denouncement of Donald Trump.
Ben Folds live at the Tivoli (Paper Aeroplane Request Tour, 4 February 2018) Ben Folds rocked the Tivoli sans new material but with irrepressible improvisation and a 25-year back catalogue. Highlights included the spontaneous ‘Mosh Pit’, a wild switch from piano to drums, and the crowd nailing Regina Spektor’s part in ‘You Don’t Know Me’.
Loose Ends developed and performed by Jens Altheimer (Ipswich Art Gallery, 18 September – 1 October 2017) A mad-quirky inventor moves out of his comfort zone in search of friendship. Altheimer’s one-man show is an exquisitely timed master class in non-verbal communication. Fun-loving and imaginative to the delight of small children, executed with the panache to keep adults bedazzled. …
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Live at the Almeida Theater, London, 1995 by Douglas Adams (Phoenix Books, 2008) The greater part of this reading (or more accurately, performance) comes in the form of two long excerpts from Life, the Universe and Everything. Suddenly that which seems facetious on the page springs to life and we hear what Adams himself…
Stephen Fry Live at the Sydney Opera House (ABC, 2010) Even while speaking more or less off the cuff, Stephen Fry remains engaging; yet precious few of the stories told at this performance won’t already be familiar to those who have read his three autobiographies (of which only one postdates the DVD).