My delayed Valentine’s Day present arrived last night, in the form of tickets to the Paul Kelly concert at the newly re-named Hamer Hall (aka the Concert Hall at the Victorian Arts Centre). A more mixed crowd than your average standing-up gig. A worrying number of oldies. I suppose what you lose on the enthusiasm and atmosphere, you gain in being able to go to the loo or get a drink and not lose your good spot.

I had intended to be a fan.geek and wear my limited edition Paul Kelly t-shirt (“I’m a legend, not a star”), to aid easy recognition by other terminal Paul Kelly fan.geeks. Discovered at the last minute it had various unidentifiable stains on it. They were confined to areas normally covered by a jacket, and given the not overly-warm weather, any jacket was likely to stay on anyway. Not that any of this mattered in the end — none of them spotted me.

Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males played support, and very good they were too. Must chase up their album. Then Paul and his “Boon Companions” (including Dan). A mix of new songs from the last couple of albums, and crowd-pleasing (and obscure) oldies, with the band in superb form. Knowing the context it was written in, I found I Guess I Get A Little Emotional Sometimes a heartwrenching highlight, especially hearing it live for the first time. (You can download it for free here.)

Other highlights for me included Pretty Place (which played live, has an instrumental that builds to a superb crescendo), From St Kilda To Kings Cross (which brings back memories of me, alone on a train in England, desperately homesick and almost tearfully humming the last verse to myself) and Cities Of Texas.

Not one but two encores — so the joke’s on the couple I saw sprinting out to beat the crowd as the “last” song of the set finished. All in all, a terrific concert, seen from terrific seats. Thanks Marita.Thumbs up

Some fans like to sit in concerts writing set lists out. That’s not my thing, but I did have a go at trying to remember all of the songs performed, so if anybody’s interested, the list follows, in roughly chronological order…

  • From St Kilda To Kings Cross (the beach has been reconstructed, but the palm trees still have it hard)
  • Don’t Harm The Messenger
  • Dumb Things
  • Before Too Long
  • When I First Met Your Ma
  • Deeper Water
  • Cities of Texas (recalled being on a tour bus, and seeing Houston rise up out of the desert as they approached)
  • How To Make Gravy
  • Gutless Wonder
  • I’d Rather Go Blind
  • You’re So Fine
  • Every Fucking City
  • If I Could Start Today Again
  • Midnight Rain
  • The Pretty Place
  • I Wasted Time
  • I Guess I Get A Little Emotional Sometimes
  • Gunnamatta
  • The Oldest Story In The Book
  • Heavy Thing
  • Won’t You Come Around
  • Sure Got Me
  • Beautiful Feeling (they hope it will replace “Every breath you take” as a wedding anthem. After all it’s a stalking song.)
  • Nothing but a Dream
  • 48 Angels
  • Curly Red
  • Big Fine Girl (based on his (great?) grandfather’s description of his (great?) grandmother)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

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