This was another emotion-charged vineyard performance from LC, at another beautiful venue -- the seating area was on the side of a gentle slope interspersed with big old trees. This was a smaller venue than any of the previous Australian shows (about 2000 people compared to twice that number of seats at previous venues), but had a very natural kind of feel to it, which was nice. At one stage, I spotted a kookaburra flying across the crowd -- how much more of an Australian country show could you get?! Unfortunately being in the great outdoors in a nice shady spot had a few down-sides: there were also lots of flies and little insects around, although I doubt this dampened anyones enthusiasm very much.
Like previous outdoor shows, this concert was held on a farily hot day ... and certainly during the support acts and LC's first set it was quite warm. But, I assume because of the venue's location in the NSW Southern Highlands ... once the sun went down, the temperatures plummeted: even LC commented on it when he came back for the second set: "I hope you've brought your woolies. Either put on your sweaters, or sit closer together." At a couple of points there was even some light rain. Again, none of that did anything to deter the enthusiastic crowd.
Perhaps as a result of other recent warm receptions, and also the extremely warm and genuine way the crowd at this show received him, LC was a fair bit more talkative at this show than any other I've seen on this tour so far. While he speaks to the audience in every show, it's often fairly similar statements he makes each time -- this time seemed much more comfortable standing there and talking to the crowd, and was happy to adlib a number of quips here and there, and generally just have a great time. It was a joy to watch.
A few of the moments that made this show unique:
1. Once again there was quite a few moments where a quiet and reverent singing arose in the crowd -- the chorus to Hallelujah was the most notable time, but the crowd was also quite spirited in chanting "Then We Take Berlin", and even had a bit of a go at singing the chorus to So Long, Marianne.
2. At the beginning of Anthem, LC made a much longer than usual speech to the audience. He thanked the Triffids, noting that they did a cover version of one of his songs on a tribute album (I'm Your Fan) back when "I was kinda dying". He then started to talk about how long it had been since he stood on the stage ... before diverting to say "sometimes I feel like diving off the stage into the waiting arms ...". Before he could get back on track from this improvisation, however, one of the security guys handed him a piece of paper someone had passed from the crowd. He picked it up, saying he couldn't read anything without his specs. He then did the piece about being a crazy kid with a dream. Afterwards he put on his glasses and read the note, thanking the woman who had written it. He was obviously feeling very comfortable talking freely to the audience, something that has been unusual in the past (on this tour). While he was listing all the anti-depressant drugs, some wag from the audience yelled out "This message has been classified as spam and will be deleted by the moderators"
3. Anthem: lyric was back to "birth delayed"
4. Tower of Song: the doo dum dum piece at the end was a bit different ... as in other recent shows, he treated it as a bit of a meditation, urging the girls to give him the strength to continue the show. But then he started along the line of saying how their words were giving him some deeper insight into the meaning of reality. Which ended in a very short version of the joke about the deeper meaning being "dee doo dum dum"
5. Hallelujah: "I didn't come all this way to this beautiful vineyard ..."
6. I Tried To Leave You: Rafael's drum solo included getting the crowd clapping (actually he has done this for the last 2 or 3). During this the Webb Sisters went a bit nuts, jumping up and down and clapping. Raf also managed to thow and catch his brush again! The Webb Sisters solo was different to anything done for the current tour: it was back to the breathy solo they were doing at the very start of the 2008 leg of the tour (well almost, it was slightly changed at the end).
7. Whither Thou Goest: the talk at the end was a bit longer than normal. LC told everyone how it was such a rare event to be part of an evening like this. He then talked about how Australia had been so warm to him, and how he wished that the waves (of love?) could radiate out from these shores to cover the world. (I think this is a repeat of something he's said on a previous Aus tour, which would be pretty amazing -- the last one was 24 years ago!)