Paul Kelly at A Weekend In The Gardens was special. The opportunity to watch Melbourne’s most treasured songwriter in one of Melbourne’s most iconic places, the Botanic Gardens, was a rare treat.
Given that this is Melbourne Music Week, the Kelly show was even more relevant.
To watch a Paul Kelly show is to witness the very fabric of Australian culture. Kelly has not only contributed so much to Australian music, he is still contributing. This year is latest album ‘Life Is Fine’ became his first ever number one album.
‘Life is Fine’ isn’t a better album than his previous releases but it stands up with the best. A lot of this current tour is showcasing the current album and to do that, instead of replacing songs, Kelly has simply extended his set. Kelly’s set at A Weekend In The Gardens clocked in at over two hours with 30 songs.
With 10 songs from ‘Life is Fine’ and 23 albums to his credit, do the maths, even at this rate he cannot cover everything but it doesn’t matter. Kelly is like Neil Young or Bob Dylan, the sound of the show is more important than any individual song.
Kelly’s band is the best of the best. The often understated Dan Kelly, Paul’s nephew, generates the energy for the band while Australia’s two most perfect voices Vika and Linda Bull drive the soul. When Vika takes lead for ‘My Man’s Got A Cold’ everyone is the audience stopped, stared and listened.
Paul Kelly is a loose canon when it comes to style. You never know what you will get from album to album but that doesn’t stop him dabbling. His Shakespeare inspired ‘Sonnet 18’ flowed easily near ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’.
Kelly has had his fair share of Top 40 hits because once upon a time talent actually made the Top 40 (buts that’s another story).
Kelly headlined the first of three ‘A Weekend In The Gardens’ shows in Melbourne’s picturesque Royal Botanical Gardens. These events were started by Mick and Anthea Newton, founders of A Day On The Green, in March this year.
This second instalment of ‘A Weekend In The Gardens’ was over three night and catered for three different audiences. Illy headlined night two and Missy Higgins night three.
Upcoming A Day On The Green shows include Bryan Adams, James Blunt, Robbie Williams and KC & The Sunshine Band with Sister Sledge, Village People and Marcia Hines.Paul Kelly AWITG on Friday 17 November 2017. Photo by Ros O’Gorman
Paul Kelly setlist, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, 17 November 2017
Life is Fine (from Life is Fine, 2017)
Rising Moon (from Life is Fine, 2017)
Finally Something (from Life is Fine, 2017)
Before Too Long (from Gossip, 1986)
Our Sunshine (from Smoke, 1999)
Firewood and Candles (from Life is Fine, 2017)
My Man’s Got A Cold (from Life is Fine, 2017)
Careless (from So Much Water So Close To Home, 1989)
Letter In The Rain (from Life is Fine, 2017)
I Smell Trouble (from Life is Fine, 2017)
From Little Things Big Things Grow (from Comedy, 1991)
Petrichor (from Life is Fine, 2017)
Sonnet 18 (from Seven Sonnets and a Song, 2016)
Don’t Explain (from Live May 1992, 1992)
Love Never Runs on Time (from Wanted man, 1994)
To Her Door (from Under The Sun, 1987)
Josephina (from Life is Fine, 2017)
Leah The Sequel (from Life is Fine, 2017)
Deeper Water (from Deeper Water, 1995)
God Told Me To (from Stolen Apples, 2007)
Dumb Things (from Under The Sun, 1987)
Sweet Guy (from So Much Water So Close To Home, 1989)
How To Have Gravy (from Words and Music, 1998)
Hasn’t It Rained (from The Merri Soul Sessions, 2014)
From St Kilda To Kings Cross (from Post, 1985)
Look So Fine, Feel So Low (from Post, 1985)
Darling It Hurts (from Gossip, 1986)
Meet Me In the Middle Of The Air (from Foggy Highway, 2005)
Stories Of Me (from Stories of Me, 2012)