Review | David Gray delivers a polished and memorable performance

David Gray | Fremantle Arts Centre | Friday 11 November 2022 

Like the Messiah on the Mount, David Gray ascended the stage for what I would describe as one of the best polished and most memorable live performances of the year!

It was bitterly cold at Friday night’s Fremantle Arts Centre concert but that did not deter the crowd, many huddled in blankets with fleecy jackets, and with that Gray’s opening monologue began, “Hello, Perth, feels like a summer’s evening in London!” Which raised a few chuckles in the audience.

Dressed immaculately in a tailored white suit, Gray ably accompanied by his professional four-piece band paid homage to the sell-out crowd by dishing out hit after hit from his past twelve studio albums. Dialogue was kept to a minimum in this section of the show, which was a bit disappointing, however, the lyrics carried their own messages which was good enough anyway.

Songs are just poetry set to music in its simplest form, yet songs can uplift the spirits and transport us back in time. David Gray’s concert did just that and even more as the exuberant crowd sang along to his award-winning album, White Ladder, from track to track as originally recorded in 1998, in the second half bracket of the show.

This well-crafted concept allowed both the artist and his original band members from that album to rip through all the stored memories that the audience had remembered from those magical days of first hearing the platinum selling album, White Ladder.

This Year’s Love, Please Forgive Me and Babylon were some of the standouts of this set, which had the crowd hanging on every word. The poet and his microphone merged as his crystal quality rendition of such an iconic album resonated throughout the open-air auditorium.

Hats off to the Rock God himself, Craig McClune on drums. Watching him playing the ‘skins’ was a classy show, as he skillfully mastered the complex rhythms and key changes of these masterpiece songs.

The encore set piece began with Gray’s upbeat version of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, which was fantastic and energetic. He then launched into witty dialogue and paid homage to Bowie by singing Life on Mars. Gray spoke endearingly about how his father discharged himself out of hospital to attend his son’s break-out concert at Glastonbury, where the pair both met Bowie. This story is online, and it is an interesting one, so check it out.

Most people cannot remember the words to the Australian national anthem, so to witness 3,200+ concert goers both singing and swaying to every song, not only on point but in their hearty sing-along renditions will be for me be one of those very treasured photographic memories that will be stored and savored for years to come!

Terry Larder, image from earlier in the tour. 

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