Pete Murray and friends played to a packed crowd, at the Hi-Fi in West End, on the eve of Anzac Day.
On his Byron Sessions Tour, Murray deliberately pared it down to the basics. Minus electronic or back-up band, it was his syrupy soulful voice; acoustic guitar; the occasional harmonica and the accompaniment of individually musically talented friends.
Opening with a solo rendition of Saving Grace, Murray in tight-fitting grey shirt and skinny jeans, commanded centre stage immediately connecting with the audience.
This was Pete stripped down.
This opening song was an indication of how the night was to unfold. Was it his intent to strip his sound back to where he began in his early Dooley’s Bar days? When it was just Pete and his guitar. The difference post-Dooleys, is his expanded repertoire of charting songs, audiences know well enough to sing along to and his numerous musical friends.
Following Saving Grace, a relaxed Murray sat on his stomp box and welcomed us into his lounge room, suggesting we make ourselves comfortable.
For just under two hours, Murray treated the Hi-Fi audience to an evening that was both intimate and casual. Incorporating song choices from a number of his albums, but largely from his most recent release, Blue Sky Blue the Byron Sessions, Murray and “friends” gave one of his best shows I have seen in a while.
Murray engaged the audience with entertaining banter between sets. Showcasing his easy humour, he changed the Free chorus into a musical parody, when he incorporated the suburb of Beenleigh into the lyrics. Originally penned by a B105 DJ, it was amusing and clever – the crowd loved it.
Among Murray’s muso mates, is the irrepressible Jimmy Barnes. Casually name dropping him, Murray broke into his version of Cold Chisel’s iconic song, Forever Now. Pete’s gently rocking, mellow version was far removed from the screaming, high octane Barnsey version.
The Byron Bay Sessions features many guest artists and the Hi-Fi crowd were treated to a few special performances throughout the evening. Twinkle toes (Dave) on bass guitar, ripped a beautiful version of LED. Matthew Baker (ex-Thirsty Merc) on lead guitar, worked his magic on Lines, bringing the first electric sound to the evening.
JC (John Collins, ex-Powderfinger) showed he still has the power with the bass guitar on Hurricane Coming. Nathan Kaye, alias “Chook”, as the support act, also appeared intermittently, entertaining with his lead guitar, beat-box accompaniment and energised antics.
Murray’s humility shines through regularly. He shared the story of how the security guard in Rockhampton approached him to say his Better Days lyrics literally “saved” him. Pete asks the crowd, “how can you get better than that?” Yep, how can you?
Murray’s intent for the Byron Sessions Tour was to provide a laid back, more intimate atmosphere and to really connect with the audience, something he enjoys. Purposely selecting smaller venues to create that connection, Murray admitted after last night’s show, “being a larger venue, the Hi-Fi makes it tough to hear your audience. I really enjoy the banter with the crowd and was struggling tonight to get the feeling and response from them.”
“I find it easier to create that connection at smaller venues,” he said.
You know Pete – we felt a connection. For a unique experience, make sure you catch one of Pete Murray’s Sessions tour shows. For further information on tour shows and dates visit: http://www.petemurray.com/
Matt Baker, Pete, JC and Nathan Kaye