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Rodriguez, live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. March 31, 2010

On Wednesday night, I went to possibly the best gig of my life. And no, I don’t write those words lightly.

But when I managed to see Rodriguez – the legend behind one of my albums of the century (Cold Fact, naturally) – at the Tivoli on Wednesday, it was easily one of the musical highlights of my life.

First off, some background: I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quite articulate the effect that Rodriguez has had on my life. When I first heard “Cold Fact”, I probably would have been all of 5 years old, because both my parents were big fans and actually had the LP. By the time I was… ooh, I’d say 13, I had my own copy of the Cold Fact CD, and I listened to it religiously.

This went on until… well, to be honest, it never stopped.

Cold Fact is, in my opinion, the exemplification of the perfect album. Point blank, perfection. But, thanks largely to Sixto’s slightly quirky nature – like playing at an industry showcase with his back to the audience throughout – and a second album (1971’s “Coming from Reality” which was still a cracker) that sold poorly, Rodriguez dropped out of the music recording scene, and subsequently out of the public eye. It got to the point where rumours spread in South Africa of his death… and quite frankly, most of us believed them.

You see, the thing is, while Rodriguez never really had much success in his native America, over in South Africa, his music was the stuff of legend. For a country struggling against the apartheid establishment, his music was – for us – a music that we needed.

Americans talk about Hendrix. I talk about Sixto.

And now, 40 years after the release of Cold Fact, Rodriguez is touring Australia. There was no way I was ever going to miss the chance to see him live.

Rodriguez and band, performing live at the Tivoli in Brisbane
Rodriguez and band, performing live at the Tivoli in Brisbane

Rodriguez was led out onto the darkened Tivoli stage on the arm of an assistant. It’s clear that the 68-year old is getting on a bit. His eyesight is failing, and his walk is occasionally – but only occasionally – that of an old man. But from the second that he launches into first tune, “I wonder”, it’s clear that the legend still lives.

I wonder how many times you’ve been had
And I wonder how many plans have gone bad
I wonder how many times you had sex
And I wonder do you know who’ll be next
I wonder I wonder wonder I do

– Rodriguez, “I Wonder”

Despite what I expected (almost no one I spoke to in Australia seemed to know who the man was), the Tivoli was packed on the night, and it was clear that Rodriguez meant as much to every person there as he did to me. From the very first line of “I Wonder”, the crowd sang along with each and every word, and carried on in that manner for most of the night.

And I think it blew Rodriguez away.

After every song, with the crowd belting lyrics back at him, Rodriguez had to step back from the microphone, seemingly overcome with childish joy. I can’t tell you the light this guy gave off. Seeing that massive smile, that childish joy on a 68 year old? Man, I hope I never forget how I felt that night.

“Go get your hugs,
Don’t do drugs.
Stay smart,
Don’t start”

Rodriguez, introducing his flagship tune, “Sugar Man”

Of course, it was always going to be Sugar Man that brought out the biggest cheers. When that bass line started, the crowd literally erupted. Times have changed for Sixto… and I think that’s why he introduced “Sugar Man” the way he did.
I wonder what he thought of the pungent smell of marijuana emanating from the crowd, looking back on how his life has changed from those times?

Sugar man, won’t you hurry
‘Cos I’m tired of these scenes
For a blue coin won’t you bring back
All those colors to my dreams

– Rodriguez, “Sugar Man”

I don’t think I’d be able to pull out highlights of the night if you asked me, because the entire night was one long bliss-fest. That said, some of the moments that still stay with me are the renditions of “Sugar Man”, “Only good for Conversation”, “Crucify your Mind” and “Forget It”.

But there was one point in the evening that I hope I never forget. It was a special moment, where everyone in the crowd – whether they were in their 20s (minority) or 40 – 60s (majority) – came together. And it was during the quintessential Rodriguez song, “This is not a song, it’s an outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues“. If you don’t know the song, I’ve included it below… but there was a moment there, where the song ends off with the immortal lines:

“It’s a hassle it’s an educated guess.
Well, frankly I couldn’t care less.”

… and the entire crowd yelled out that ending couplet in perfect unison. It was the most cathartic moment I’ve ever had at a gig. Hell, I think it may have been the most cathartic experience I’ve ever had, point blank. And I never, ever want to let go of that feeling.

Rodriguez is currently touring. I urge you (you hear that? Urge. I almost never urge people) to go and catch one of his shows. Rodriguez is a treasure that I fear may slip away from us, before his message gets out. So do your part, and spread the word.

Below, I’ve included a grooveshark player with some of his tunes that you can cycle through.

Listen. Love. Support.

***Post Updated 5 April***

Updated post thanks to Debo in the comments, with a video of Rodriguez and band performing opening number, “I Wonder”. See video below… killer!

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Bon Iver, live at the Tivoli in Brisbane – 17 Jan, 2009

Last night, I had probably the most visceral experience of my life, watching Bon Iver perform live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. To call it sublime would be an understatement.

It was over two years ago (side note: how fast is time going these days? I mean, honestly…) that the dulcet tones of Justin Vernon first made their ways to my ears. I managed to catch the tail end of the Hazeltons days/post DeYarmond Edison days, but really – if I’m honest – I was probably only fully hooked when I first heard Skinny Love. It’s a cardinal sin to admit something like that, when you’re a music blogger (especially considering the strength of the Hazeltons era), but that’s the moment when I realised that this was… different. That there was something transcendent in this music. So when the news made its way to me that Bon Iver would be performing at the Tivoli, I knew I would be going.

And man, am I glad I did.

boniver2Bon Iver performing live at the Tivoli in Brisbane

The gig was a sit down affair, which was a first for me at the Tivoli; but it complemented the night perfectly. First up, I have to talk about the crowd that was there that night. I’ve now been to more than my fair share of gigs at the Tivoli; but last night had, without a doubt, the best crowd of any gig that I have been to there. You always take a slight chance, in my opinion, with gigs at the Tiv: it’s such an intimate, beautiful setting, but sometimes you can get some really belligerent concert goers there (for some reason, they always seem to crawl out of the woodwork for the Ryan Adams gigs)… but last night, the Tiv was packed to the rafters with appreciative music fans. And it was an atmosphere that Justin and co. were definitely feeding off. For probably the first time, I truly believed an artist when they said, “You guys have just been the best audience”.

Because they were.

I’m getting slightly ahead of myself though. First up was the opening act, and for the life of me I could not hear the girl’s name. (update: @lexiphanic mentions in the comments below that the opening act was McKisko). This didn’t surprise me, as it was the same girl who opened up for Sophie Koh and Howie Day at the Troubadour last year, and I had the same trouble then. Regardless, “Performer X” has certainly improved since that last performance, but I was still left… cold, with her performance. There’s an attitude of avante-garde “raw emotion” to her stuff, but it comes across as a facade; too calculated, an “art school pastiche” for me to really believe it. I can hear there’s talent there, but I think this girl still needs a year or two to find herself, and I really hope she does.

After “Performer X”, it was time for Bon Iver to come on… and with an unassuming, “Hey everybody”, Justin and co. launched straight into Flume; and what a killer opening it was. I managed to catch a few videos of last night, and made sure I got the opening number; so here, below, is Bon Iver opening the night at the Tivoli, with “Flume”.

After that opening, the crowd simply fell, and fell hard, for Bon Iver.

There was just something in the air, that give and take between performer and crowd that meant the energy was simply electric, and unlike anything I have ever felt before. Nowhere was that connection better displayed than in the third song Bon Iver played, “The Wolves (Act I & II)”. (By the way, we all know my love for that tune as I featured it back here. Check out the video).

Justin introduced the song by asking the crowd to sing along with the band… and how we all did! The sheer emotion running through the crowd as we all sang, “What might have been lost…”, and the screaming towards the end was a sheer visceral moment that I think I will always remember. If ever emotion took hold of me, it was in that tune, and I was screaming along unashamedly as the song closed. I managed to get the whole thing on video, but unfortunately because of the noise levels towards the end with everyone screaming (in that last two minutes), it slightly turns into a sheer wall of sound; so you can’t quite hear what really happened that night. But trust me when I say it was beautiful.

Anyway: below, Bon Iver performing “The Wolves (Act I & II)”, live at the Tivoli.

Truly, truly magical, and a moment I will take with me for years to come.

boniver3Justin Vernon performing re: Stacks, solo at the Tivoli in Brisbane

After that, I have to admit, the night passed in a bit of an ecstatic blur for me… while I’m normally quite good at making a note of the setlist, that night I kind of blissed out and slacked in that duty a bit. However, for those who are interested, here is the set list as I recall it; that said, I’m sure there might be some errors or omissions in this, so feel free to drop a line in the comments if I’ve got something wrong below, and I’ll be sure to update the post.

Bon Iver at the Tivoli in Brisbane, 17/1/2009 setlist

1. Flume
2. Lump Sum
3. The Wolves (Act I & II)
4. Beach Baby
5. Blood Bank
6. re: Stacks
7. For Emma
8. Lovin’s for Fools (Sarah Siskind cover)
9. Babys (and yes, they do spell it that way. Check out the Blood Bank release)
10. Skinny Love


11. Creature Fear

Highlights of the set for me? Well, apart from the obvious answer of “Everything!”, I’d have to go with the previously mentioned “Wolves”, “Blood Bank” (which I featured back here, by the way, and which had an insanely frenetic guitar line at the end), and the solo rendition of “re: Stacks”. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get the entire performance of “re: Stacks” on camera, but I did manage to get just over 5 minutes of it, so I’ve included it below. The vulnerabilty of that man, lit up on stage is breathtaking.

And, of course, where would we be without mentioning “Skinny Love”? Sheer fragile beauty, combined with powerful, ravaging emotion (watch that floor tom being beaten towards the end of the track… that’s the very definition of cathartic music, in my opinion). In other words, the performance was perfection…

All in all, I can say this, without any fear of hyperbole… Bon Iver at the Tivoli was one of the best gigs I have ever been to. Without a doubt, without hesitation. I look back on this post, and I know that no matter how many times I rewrite this, I’ll never be able to truly convey the magic that transpired there that night. It was simply too big, too huge to post about. Those that were there will no what I mean when I say that. So really, all that’s left to say is thanks; so thanks to Justin and Co, for sharing that perfect night with us. We hope you come back soon, because until then… we’ll be waiting.

boniver4Bon Iver performing live at the Tivoli in Brisbane. Come back soon guys…

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Death Cab for Cutie, live at the Tivoli in Brisbane

Unfortunately, and in keeping with the general lack of time around these parts lately, this post might need to be a bit short. But on Friday night, I saw one of my top 5 shows that I’ve ever seen at the Tivoli… Death Cab for Cutie. And what a set it was.

An Horse
An Horse kicked off the night…

The night was started off by Brisbane band, An Horse, who I’m surprised that I hadn’t heard before. Suffice to say, this duo (Kate Cooper and Damon Cox) opened up the night in cracking form, and the crowd was very receptive to them. Although their music often comes across as a sheer wall of sound, after a while the intricacies of their tunes begins to dawn on you. And, just a personal observation here, but Damon was possibly one of the tightest drummers I’ve ever seen perform at The Tivoli. No shit.
Anyway, the main takeaway from these guys show? If you get a chance to see them play live, grab it with both hands. It was impressive to say the least.
I’ve included one of their tunes below, as a taster… their cracking tune, “Warm Hands“, which drew some major applause from the audience. You can tell from this track why these guys have opened for such bands as Tegan and Sara, and… of course… Death Cab.

Listen: An Horse – Warm Hands

Death Cab for Cutie at the Tivoli in Brisbane
Death Cab came onto the stage to thunderous applause…

When Death Cab for Cutie came on the stage, at around 9.30pm, the atmosphere was electric. The Tiv was pumping, and, on a side note, was containing easily the most amount of “OC fanbois and girls” that I’ve ever seen in one single point. The place was a literal sea of Seths and Summers.
Finally, the lights dimmed, and Gibbard et al entered the stage… and launched into, what else… but Bixby Canyon Bridge. From the first note, you could tell that the show was going to be special. Chris Walla was simply incendiary from the get-go, and Ben was bubbling with energy.
Thanks to Gary taking along his new camera, we actually have quite a bit of footage from the night, and I’ve included the “Bixby Canyon Bridge” performance below.

Death Cab for Cutie opening the night at the Tivoli, with “Bixby Canyon Bridge”

Despite some early teething problems with the sound levels (as can be seen at times in the above video), Death Cab were the ever-consummate professionals, giving everything in their performance… and soon the problems were sorted out.

Death Cab for Cutie at the Tivoli in Brisbane
Death Cab wowing the crowd at the Tiv…

I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that – although this tour was ostensibly in support of their “Narrow Stairs” release – the set list that night consisted of songs from a number of their past releases, and wasn’t too heavily focused on their latest album. I have to admit, I blissed out a bit at one point (as I am wont to do at gigs), so instead of a breakdown of each song’s performance, here’s the band’s set-list from the night (with the track’s album included in parenthesis):

Death Cab for Cutie, live at the Tivoli in Brisbane, 22 August 2008 Setlist

1. Bixby Canyon Bridge (Narrow Stairs)
2. The New Year (Transatlanticism)
3. Why You’d Want to Live Here (The Photo Album)
4. Crooked Teeth (Plans)
5. Long Division (Narrow Stairs)
6. Grapevine Fires (Narrow Stairs)
7. A Movie Script Ending (The Photo Album)
8. Company Calls (We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes)
9. Title Track (We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes)
10. Soul Meets Body (Plans)
11. I Will Follow You Into the Dark (Plans)
12. I Will Possess Your Heart (Narrow Stairs)
13. Cath… (Narrow Stairs)
14. No Sunlight (Narrow Stairs)
15. Sound Of Settling (Transatlanticism)
16. Marching Bands of Manhattan (Plans)


17. Your Bruise (Something About Airplanes)
18. Title and Registration (Transatlanticism)
19. 405 (We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes version)
20. Your Heart is an Empty Room (Plans)
21. Transatlanticism (Transatlanticism)

Highlights of the night, for me? Well, apart from the cop-out answer of “Everything!”, I’d have to say that I went into the night hoping to hear 3 songs; “Cath…“, “I Will Follow You Into The Dark“, and “405“… and each of those songs were simply amazing. Particularly the tender “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”, which was dedicated to opening band “An Horse”, and had the entire crowd singing along with each and every syllable.

Death Cab for Cutie performing “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” live at the Tivoli.

Following that? The closing number of “Transatlanticism”. To be honest, it’s never been one of my favourite tunes, but the performance that night was simply electric. The energy and passion of the band was, quite simply, astounding. When Ben started plaintively crying “I need you so much closer!“, there truly was a feeling that something special was happening there that night… and we were carried away in a wave of emotion, riding Death Cab’s anger, pain, love and passion all in one movement. It’s a song that I’ll remember for a while, of that I have no doubt. Here it is, below.

Death Cab closing the night at the Tiv with a killer performance of “Transatlanticism”

Anyway… sorry there isn’t more detail in this post, but the problem with seeing a show on Friday, and then not posting until Monday due to being away from the computer is that you forget the small details. All that is left is that overwhelming, all-consuming feeling that you witnessed something special that night, and that – no matter how hard you try – you won’t be able to communicate just how it felt to someone else, unless they’d been there.

Yeah. That pretty much sums it up quite nicely, actually.

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G Love and Ozomatli… at the Tivoli.

So after a few days off down the coast, I know this entry is popping up late; but on Sunday evening, I accomplished one more of my “band goals”, with a night at the Tivoli. This entry is being composed on the long train back to Brisbane… so excuse some grammatical errors, which I have no doubt will pop up.
Thanks to some free tickets from Chugg Entertainment, a few of us were lucky enough to see G Love and Special Sauce, with supporting act Ozomatli rock the hell out of Brisbane. All in all, it was a great night, so I’ll jump straight in.

(Aside: One more apology for the terrible pictures from a crappy phone and lack of notes including set-list. The G Love night kind of took me by surprise, so I wasn’t exactly kitted out…)


Ozomatli performed an incendiary set at the Tivoli in Brisbane

Arriving sometime just before 9pm, we were lucky to get in just as Ozomatli were starting up. Unfortunately this means that we got there too late to see local opening act, Shoebox. I haven’t seen these guys before, but if anyone was there for their set, please drop a comment below and let us know how it went.
Unfortunately the Tiv wasn’t exactly packed to capacity on Sunday; in fact, they even closed off the upper section… there were those kind of numbers. I suspect that a lot of that had to do with the fact that Bluesfest was on the same weekend, and both G Love and Ozomatli had performed there the night before. That said, those who didn’t make it out that night truly missed something special. So while the numbers weren’t huge, we were still greeted by an absolute sea of fans, all grooving to Ozomatli’s beats, when we walked through the front doors.

Ozomatli at the Tivoli
Ozomatli killing it at The Tivoli

While I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never been a huge fan of Ozomatli’s recorded work, seeing them live certainly changed my opinion of them. There is this ridiculously infectious feel to their live performance; a sheer joy that spreads from them, on the stage, throughout the crowd and the venue. The sheer numbers up on stage ensures an inevitably chaotic feel to the set; but it’s a chaos of abandon and fun; of friendship and sharing. Ultimately, Ozomatli started one of the best conversations I’ve ever seen between an artist and it’s fans. And it was great. Within the first 30 seconds of arriving, we were jiving to their killer beats.

Ozomatli at the Tivoli
Ozomatli had the crowd jiving to their tunes

Performing mainstays such as “After Party”, “Can’t Stop” and “City of Angels”, Ozomatli had the crowd constantly moving. And – in one of the firsts for me at The Tivoli – as they reached the end of their set, members began climbing off the stage, taking their instruments with them, and leading the crowd on a merry conga line around the venue. It really was like watching the Pied Pipers of Hamlin leading the children to a better place. And, as they ended their last song standing in the entrance hall of the Tivoli, it truly felt like we had entered that better place. If only for a fleeting moment, music did what all great music should do: broke down the walls.

And the people of the world say…
Oye Baby
Oye Mami
Donde Esta La Afterparty

– Ozomatli, “After Party”

Sheffer Bruton of Ozomatli
Sheffer Bruton after the set

After the set, I was lucky to catch up with trombonist Sheffer Bruton and snapped a picture of him with a friend (there you go Sophie, you made the blog). Although time was limited and there were only fleeting comments – after all, there were several scantliy-clad girl looking to make his acquaintance – the guy seemed really humble and gracious about everything.
Put it this way… I’m a fan.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Ozomatli – After Party

G Love

G Love
G Love and Special Sauce put on an amazing show at the Tivoli in Brisbane

I think I’ve lost count of how many years I’ve been aching to see G Love perform live.
Counting back to the first time my friend turned me onto his tunes, I can say that it’s – at least – over the 10 year mark.
G Love is, to me, one of the most complete musicians of my era. While his brand of blues and funk sometimes seems interminable to those who need their songs packaged into 3:30 min format, to me G Love hearkens back to a time when a blues man knew what he was talking about. When a blues man paid his respects to those who came before him, but produced more than homage; an innovator. And someone slightly out of step with time. All this may not seem obvious when seeing G Love from the outside; after all, he’s an easy-going guy, who’s songs often deals with frivolous topics. But I think underneath that there’s a wealth of knowledge and experience. In short, a hip, hip cat. And that’s G Love to a tee.

G Love at the Tivoli
G Love giving it to the Tivoli.

While the energy that Ozomatli instilled in the crowd seemed to dissipate somewhat when G came on stage, the set was no less incendiary. Opening up with a killer rendition of “Back of the Bus”, Garrett was definitely on it that night, as were the rest of the band. “Honour and Harmony” was probably the one song I wanted to hear most out of the set, and when it came on, it was sheer bliss. When a band like G Love and Special Sauce is on it, they are on it. It’s like a constant play between instruments; slick, flawless, and playful, these were guys who were jamming on a different plane. And, when “Holla!” came around, I’m pretty sure – at least, going by pretty much every girl in earshot – every girl within 5 miles of Garrett had decided that he was pretty much the sexiest guy ever. The fact that he was blowing a mean-ass harp throughout the night probably didn’t hurt matters much.

G Love and Ozomatli at The Tivoli
G Love and several members of Ozomatli up on stage

G Love then called up Raul, from Ozomatli, to join him for an outstanding, dulcet-toned performance of “Take You There”, and from then on, the crowd really did join in for a crazy trip… the band certainly had taken everyone there. From “Take You There”, the band then played a blistering “Hot Cookin’” – paying homage to blues in the best way, with a harmonica killing it. G Love and band then launched into possibly the highlight of the night for me. A medley of tunes, the band performed a line-up including “Blues Music”, Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side”, and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?”. Going on for near to 15 minutes, I think this was the most contagious moment I have ever experienced at The Tivoli, bar none. The crowd was moving up and down, breaking crests in time with the beats; if I took one thing away from the night, it will be that special feeling during that performance. I think it will probably be a mainstay of my favourite “concert moments” for years to come.

A collection of the people
Who started it all
I reckon
I kept them
In my sock like money
Blues music…

– G Love, “Blues Music”

After that, Sheffer from Ozomatli was called back up to help perform what was undoubtedly the crowd favourite of the night, “Cold Beverages”. Again, a song that went near the 10 minute mark, it was jamming at its pure best. With the crowd still surging and yelling out the lyrics, it was the perfect way to close what can only be described as an incredible set.

G Love closes the set, solo
G Love closes the set.

Of course, there was an encore. Coming back onto the stage solo and seating himself upon a stool, G Love performed one more tune: “Still Hangin’ Around”. And as long as he can put on performances like Sundays, there’s no doubt that G Love’s fan will be hangin’ around for a long time to come.

Listen: G Love and Special Sauce – Back Of The Bus (live)

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Mr A to the Z and Friends… at the Tivoli.

So last night, I went to another show.

If I was to give you clues as to the show, I would probably say:

1) The performer absolutely wails on guitar.
2) The performer has probably the most pure voice you’ll ever hear. Able to leap and soar in ways uncommon in contemporary music.
3) The performer has some of the best grasp of wordplay this side of Speechwriters LLC.

Of course, by the third clue – and of course the title of the post – you would know that I’m talking about the one and only Jason Mraz. Last night, Jason performed at the Tivoli, along with opening acts Hayley Sales and Gregory Page. And man, was it a killer night.

Hayley Sales

Hayley Sales
Hayley Sales belted out and awesome set at the Tivoli in Brisbane

Hayley Sales opened up the night, at about 8pm. This was a tough slot, as most people there – me included – had not heard Hayley before, and a number of people seemed impatient to jump straight to Jason’s slot. So when Hayley started out with her first tune, the floor wasn’t exactly what you’d call packed. That all changed when her first chords struck out on the guitar.

(Aside: I have to apologise here. I didn’t manage to make notes for last night, as I did with my Jack Johnson recap, so I’m not 100% sure of the opening songs, or the order. I’m pretty sure that she started out with Jailcell Mind, but if anyone else was there feel free to correct me. Throughout this entire entry, I’m sure.)

Hayley has one of the most powerful voices I think I’ve heard in years. There’s a real versatility to it as well; one minute it can be a husky whisper, sexy as all hell… the next a powerful, intimidating force. She also has this really fun vibe up on stage; I think that while most people were a bit skeptical at first of this lone girl up on stage, after a few minutes under her sunny smile and contagious grooves, you couldn’t help but get into the joy of the set.

Hayley didn’t perform the entire set alone though. She called up Toca Rivera – the percussionist/singer from Jason’s band – to perform with her for about 3 or so songs. And she also called up Jason to finish the set, with an absolutely amazing performance of “Keep Driving“.

Hayley Sales, Jason Mraz and Toca Rivera - The Tivoli
Hayley, Jason and Toca perform “Keep Driving” at the Tivoli

(Aside #2: Excuse the “phone-camera” quality pictures. They look like that because… well… they were taken with a crappy phone).

The performance of “Keep Driving” had the entire crowd singing along. And anyone who was there will be able to attest to the fact that Hayley’s closing note, held with clarity and power, was undoubtedly one of the highest notes we’ve ever heard at the Tivoli. There was a shocked silence before outrageous clapping and cheering. Nice one Hayley.

Highlights? “Jailcell Mind”, simply because it took everyone by surprise. “Keep Driving”, for that stunning last note and great interplay between Jason and Hayley. And also the cracking tune, “Only What You Want“. All in all, a great set, and someone I’ll be sure to keep an eye on in the future.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Hayley Sales – Only What You Want
Listen: Hayley Sales – Keep Driving

Gregory Page

Gregory Page - The Tivoli
Gregory Page performed perhaps one of my favourite sets at the Tivoli

Next up was Gregory Page. Now, unlike Hayley, I had actually heard of Gregory Page before. But I was unsure how his minimalist style would go down with this crowd. Gregory’s music is a strange creature; obviously there’s the well-known minimalist feel to it, but it’s a deceptive minimalism… there’s so much more going on under the surface that you sometimes feel you could drown in it.

I think some people were bewildered by Gregory, but these people were certainly in the minority, as there was a great feeling about his set. He opened with perhaps my favourite song of his, “Sleeping Dogs“. There’s a pain in this song that simply does not let you go, while at the same time an aching beauty to it. Sleeping Dogs was possibly my favourite song of the night, point-blank… all songs included.

“It’s so cold here, in my bed without my love
I cover my emotions, I’m half dead
And the hours laid as the memories still haunts me, and it’s tearing me apart
There are fireworks exploding in my heart”

– Gregory Page, “Sleeping Dogs”

Gregory Page and Jason Mraz at the Tivoli
Gregory Page and Jason Mraz at the Tivoli in Brisbane

Gregory also called Jason up for a tune. I learned later in the night that Gregory Page had actually given Jason Mraz his first break, when he invited Jason to open for him; and this long-time partnership was clear in their synergy that night. Truly, a great performance. There is a phone-quality vid of the performance; but I warn you: I include this here solely for those die-hard fans who need to see this kind of thing. The sound and picture quality is terrible, so skip this if you aren’t one of those die-hards. The song only actually begins in earnest around 1:00 in.

Highlights? Obviously the aforementioned “Sleeping Dogs”, and the stunning “Knife in My Chest“. While I’m sure that Gregory’s music is not for everyone, he certainly has a stalwart fan in me.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Gregory Page – Sleeping Dogs
Listen: Gregory Page – Knife In My Chest

Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz
Jason Mraz performed to a great crowd at the Tivoli.

By the time Jason and the full band made it onto the stage, the crowd was absolutely rabid. Launching straight into a killer rendition of “Mr Curiosity“, Jason had them eating out of his hand from the get-go. The thing that always astounds me about Jason, apart from the stunning wordplay of course, is the clarity in his voice. There is a purity there that I find hard to give a comparison point; simply because there is no comparison. This is a voice that truly can fly at the drop of a hat. And it never gets any less amazing. And Jason showed it off in fine form with this song, slipping between operatic and playful towards the end. It really was a great way to start off the set.

Jason Mraz and band at The Tivoli in Brisbane
Jason Mraz and band at The Tivoli in Brisbane

About 3 songs in, Jason and band launched into “Cannabis College“, and of course the crowd exploded. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a live show where this song hasn’t had the entire joint jumping. Funniest point of the night? When the dude next to me leaned in to his mate – with about 30 seconds of the song left – and said to him: “This song is hilarious mate. It’s all about smoking weed!!“. Thank you, Captain Obvious, for the hilarity that ensued.
Of course, that excitement was only carried through when the obligatory, “The Remedy” made it’s appearance.

The rest of the set was, as usual, polished brilliance. From the tender rendition of “Love For A Child“, through to the duets with Hayley, and later Gregory, the night was a true conversation between artists and audience.

My friend managed to snag a few seconds of “Sleep All Day” on his phone… although it’s only 58 seconds of the song, I’ve included it below as the sound and image quality is far better than the clip I posted above; that, and also it’s simply a cracking tune that went down a storm on the night.

Again; highlights of the set? Tough to say, but if pushed I would say the following songs were standouts, for me at least:

“Mr Curiosity”, “Love For A Child”, “Tonight, Not Again“, “Sleep All Day”, “Live High” (which I posted a video of here), and the closer, “I’m Yours“, which also went into medley including Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”, and it’s refrain of, “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘coz every little thing gonna be alright!”.

It certainly seemed that, at the end of the night, everyone agreed that everything was, in fact, more than alright. It was perfection. The only thing that I was hoping for, that never transpired, would have been a performance of “The Dream Life of Rand McNally“. But hey, you can’t have everything.

Thanks Jason and Co, for sharing the night with us. It was awesome being involved.

Listen: Jason Mraz – I’m Yours (live)
Listen: Jason Mraz – Dream Life of Rand McNally (live)