Under a starry sky, Vance Joy enchanted an eager Melbourne audience

Under a starry sky, Vance Joy enchanted an eager Melbourne audience


Time’s a funny thing, especially when music’s involved. It can either stretch out, or pass in the blink of an eye. In the case of Vance Joy’s packed-to-the-roof gig at The Forum, it was the latter. The music washed over everyone there, and instead of wishing one of the acts would come on, or wondering where to go after the lights go down, everyone got lost in the voices and the warm, comforting sound of it all. Nobody got rowdy, nobody tried to kickstart a mosh in the crowd. Everyone just danced or sung along, and purely enjoyed what was on offer.

Gretta Ray kicked off the show, obviously nervous but incredibly excited. Like most openers, she was able to warm up the crowd and get everyone loosened up for what was to come. Unlike most openers, however, she was able to hold the crowd as well, able to perform her music and get them to pay attention and talk about it afterwards. Punters reacted warmly to her better know hits like ‘Drive’ and ‘Towers’, and as her set built her nervousness quickly relented to a head-swaying, smile-inducing set. Humbled and ecstatic to be onstage, the only fault in the set was that it only lasted around five songs. From start to finish, the smile never left her face.

After seeing him live, it struck me that Vance Joy isn’t like a lot of other musicians. Like Gretta Ray, he’s humble, makes the odd mistake here and there, and doesn’t have the self-assured swagger of someone who’s talented and knows it. While this may make him sound boringly normal and clumsy, he’s actually anything but, and he proved this in spades, delivering a performance that got an already captivated crowd to absorb each note and lyric he belted out.

In between guitar changes, or while his band was changing instruments, he’d tell the audience some of the stories behind his songs (he wrote ‘Snaggletooth’ because he was on Sia’s Wikipedia page and discovered she had one, who would’ve guessed?), and like Ray, the smile never left his face as he thundered through hits like ‘Riptide’ and ‘Georgia’, crowd favourites ‘Fire and the Flood’ and ‘Lay It On Me’, as well as the sentimental ‘Red Eye’ and ‘Winds of Change’.

From the start of the set to the very end, Vance Joy had everyone from the barrier to the back enchanted with his music. And like him, everyone left with a smile on their face.

Highlight: The cutest guitar mishap of all time during ‘Winds of Change’.

Lowlight: Getting my insides re-arranged by the speaker bass.

Crowd Favourite: The singalongs during ‘Riptide’ and ‘Lay It On Me’.