Photos by David Harris
A philosophical mood hung in the air throughout the evening.
A packed Melbourne audience hummed in anticipation for a razor-sharp Didirri to enchant the room with his melancholic songs. When he arrived, they were quick to applaud.
“Do what makes you happy,” Didirri said. “For me, that’s spending time with a dog… Not the other dog.” He’s a performer well-versed in sharing his sadness.
The simultaneously heartbreaking and healing ‘Bird Sounds’ demonstrated a grief which contrasted nicely with Didirri’s optimism and joy for the present moment. As the night rolled forth, the stage-patter between songs extended itself into anecdotal experiences and life lessons.
“This song is about your exes,” Didirri paused as the audience murmured to one another with re-acquainted memories. “Send them love.”
The singer told the crowd he’d just come back from a coastal getaway where he experimented with a rickety old piano.
“It was the first instrument I ever learnt, so I never thought I’d return to it, but here I am,” he said before launching into an unreleased track. The song picked up on his previous discography but also extended itself to a higher, Marlon Williams-type ballad; an exciting taste for Didirri fans curious for the next instalment.
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“We’re all here together, right now in this moment, we don’t know when our last moment will be,” the performer said between songs. “You could be a hit by a bus tomorrow, and that’s it, your time is up.” The audience jolted into the present moment after that throwaway remark. With this philosophical lesson in the air, the soul-moving ‘Blind You’ took an even greater resonance.
“I’ve been experimenting with mundane things, like taking out the rubbish or washing the dishes. Imagining it’s the last time I’m doing it. I challenge you not to find some beauty in a task when you think like that.” Mesmerised fans hung on his every word.
These impromptu spoken-word digressions were intriguing. For some performers, they might distract from the songs, but Didirri’s authenticity and evident wisdom made them quintessential to the experience. At one point he invited the audience to pause.
“Let’s soak in the moment. This is why you can never kill live music, because of this feeling.”
The highlight of the night came when support act Ro reappeared on stage and the pair sung ‘Tea Stains’ to perfection. The duo had an energy on stage which changed the tone of the night from melancholic to joyous. It became apparent this emotional arc was the plan all along.
“For the sake of fun, this next part of the show is biodegradable,” Didirri said.
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The previous lessons on sadness and grief were still present in the back of our minds, but Didirri now showed off his smile as if we’d all seemingly come out of the turbulence together. His closer, ‘I Can’t Get Last Night Out Of My Head’, was preceded by the performer’s assurance that he doesn’t do encores.
“I did musical theatre in high school, so it just reminds me of sweaty teenagers,” he said and the crowd laughed.
The last track was accompanied with biodegradable confetti which scattered over the audience amid purple light, blissful screams and Didirri’s soulful voice bringing home a crowd favourite.
His ability to move an audience is like no other. People attending the show hadn’t expected to feel things so genuinely; despair, hope, love and, ultimately, rejuvenation. All of Didirri’s planned narrative played out perfectly in the space of an hour.
Highlight: The onstage chemistry between Ro and Didirri. Electric.
Lowlight: The show seemed to go lightning quick. However, this won’t be a problem as the musician continues to grow his catalogue.
Crowd Favourite: ‘I Can’t Get Last Night Out Of My Head.’