Sydney has woken up from its slumber in terms of arena size gigs, and you can’t wipe the smile off our faces.
There was palpable joy on Saturday night when Bernard Fanning led the second of two shows at Qudos Bank Arena, dubbed Greatest Southern Nights, the largest indoor events held in Australia since March, designed to kick start the live music industry that is sick after a coronavirus has dried up. out for months.
NSW indie pop act Merci kicked off Mercy before Matt Corby took to the stage in his bare feet to remind Sydneysiders how charming live music can be in an arena setting.
Backed by the festival’s tight, hardcore band and colorful imagery, the singer-songwriter, who has grown from being an Australian Idol to a Triple J favorite, couldn’t pull his eyes.
Corby’s songs – including the crowd favorites Brother, Resolution and Miracle Love – are beginning to humble but inevitably build to cathartic highs on the back of his soaring voices.
Former Powderfinger frontman Bernard Fanning was in a shameful mood for his slot, referring to Footloose because the third-full room was unable to stand up and dance, due to strict COVID-19 protocols.
Backed by his band The Black Fins, Fanning’s set went into the daddy rock vibes of his solo work.
The crowd clapped eagerly to his brilliant Songbird tune, from his most successful album Tea and Sympathy, which was stunned into silence by the exhilarating four-part harmonies of Departures (Blue Toowong Skies).
The performance was less successful when Fanning allowed his band to wander into extended jams – including some random tributes to Black Sabbath, David Bowie and Fats Domino.
Fanning was at his best when he pulled the decorations off and let his song craft shine. His voice remains unique and powerful, best complemented by solo acoustic guitar or piano.
Despite carving out a successful solo career, Fanning was still wreaking havoc on Powderfinger’s demos, with a throwback to the band’s Sunsets hit from Vulture Street.
The highlight of the set, however, was his version of Powderfinger’s signature tune These Days, whose lyrics have taken on an extra meaning during uncertain 2020.
His performance was enough to make the crowd jump out of their seats at the end of the set, contrary to COVID rules.
“What are you doing standing up? Punks. Dirty punks, ”Fanning denied in response.
While the punters were stuck in their seats and socially distant for much of the night, the lively performances were enough to re-awaken the hunger for live music and a sense of community – something that Australia desperately needs desperately as this challenging year draws to a close.