h

Paul Kelly is a national treasure

Is there anything better than drinks in the sun with the Gravy Man as your soundtrack a month out before Christmas? 

I tend to think not, because let’s be honest, Paul Kelly is as iconic as a packet of Frosty Fruits on a hot summers day or the Dog on the Tuckerbox.

As the youngest band on the bill, Middle Kids showed why they had previously opened for the likes of Ryan Adams and Cold War Kids, as they launched into their back catalogue of snappy radio-friendly numbers, which saw ‘Edge Of Towngo over as a memorable highlight.

Steve Earle decided to make what was (looking back) a good decision, opening the set with ‘Copperhead Road’, his magnum opus from 1988. As everyone was expecting to hear it, it made the audience extremely attentive to his other songs. Earle was applauded by the moderate crowd as he played tracks from his latest 2017 release So You Wannabe An Outlaw?. Although his band The Dukes, would have created a fuller atmosphere and some might argue that Steve Earle solo acoustic might be a bit tedious, solo allowed for the songs and lyrics to shimmer as he pleasured our ears with tracks like ‘The Firebreak Line’ and ‘Galway Girl’, and for those millennials out there, no it wasn’t a cover of the Ed Sheeran hit.

As PK came onto stage solo with his Maton acoustic, he launched into the title track of his first #1 album Life Is Fine. Taking inspiration from American poet Langston Hughes, the lyrics and imagery of cold water and the river were incredibly descriptive and combined with the upbeat tempo in which Kelly sang it, made it the perfect opener. The band joined Kelly as they launched into new album tracks ‘Finally Something Good’,Firewood and Candles’ and ‘My Mans Got A Cold’, which saw the always impressive Vika Bull on lead vocals. The members of Paul Kelly’s band have been with him for years and seeing the legends hit it out was great.

The thing about Paul Kelly is he does play the new stuff which everyone gets around, yet he has an ability to throw all the hits into the set in a way that whips the audience into a frenzy. From ‘Careless’to ‘Love Never Runs on Time’, one of the biggest singalongs came next with ‘Before Too Long’ showcasing a Falls Festival-type atmosphere which was more focussed on mateship and linked arm singalongs than beach balls in the audience.

After 40 years in the business, Kelly definitely brings the hits to his show and ‘Dumb Things’, ‘From St Kilda To Kings Cross’ and ‘How To Make Gravy’ were definitely big singalongs. ‘Meet Me In The Middle Of The Air’ was the final song before the encore and it’s acapella approach around the condenser microphone between all the members of the band left everyone’s skin on edge and a standing ovation as a result.

After hearing the greatest Christmas song ever penned, the festive season is now here. Paul Kelly thanks for bringing mates together for a few singalongs, and who could forget the gravy tips?

Highlight: ‘Dumb Things’.

Lowlight: The wait for food.

Crowd Favourite: ‘How To Make Gravy’.