There is something so quintessentially Australian about checking out a Pete Murray show; you’re greeted with a laid-back atmosphere, the fans have beers in hand and there’s a family-friendly vibe about the place. And that’s exactly what Friday night’s show, held at Her Majesty’s Theatre ended up becoming- it was nothing less than fantastic. Despite the horrific weather, the place was almost full and everywhere you could feel the excitement rolling off the crowd.
To get the place warmed up, Ben Wright-Smith cajoled the audience into the theatre with a combination or witty banter—‘This is the part we normally talk about how great the weather is… we’re Victorian and we understand’—and a typically Melburnian pub-band-esque vibe, that brought back fond memories of evening’s spent at the pub, listening to the local bands, to my mother (of course she was my pick for a night out with Pete Murray). His folk-tunes and friendly demeanour set the tone for the great evening.
By the time Murray made his way on stage the crowd was ready to go. As he played ‘Lines’ three songs in, the theatre was alive with dancing fans and enthusiastic sing-alongs. Murray likes to tease the classics between his new work; it’s blindingly obvious that he’s a new man with a new sound and it’s clear the audience still love him.
Of particular note is the backing band Murray has acquired for this tour. Drummer, Andy Fisenden, produced some incredible drum solos whilst guitarist Brett Wood followed suit with vigour at every given opportunity. Bassist Simon Fisenden was suave and slick, while keyboardist Grant Windsor deserves a mention due to his distractingly good, enthusiastic grooving whilst maintaining perfection at the keys.
Murray played a heart-wrenching, acoustic rendition of ‘Home’ towards the end, that will stay with me for years to come. The acoustic track can be hit and miss with some musicians, but this is where Murray shines. The rise and fall of emotions was nailed with the set list, by the time ‘Better Days’ was played at the end, the crowd was peaking energetically. Murray even received strong confessions of love from some rather excited women in the dress circle, much to the amusement of the gentlemen sitting beside me.
Murray is exactly what you expect on stage, his live performance is a perfect translation of his recorded sound and he’s passionate about everything he does. He’s sultry, sexy and jazzy all at the same time. Additionally, Murray interacts well with his audiences, you’re not let down by his quips and witty responses to calls from the crowd, despite how annoyingly distracting they can be for some artists on stage.
If you have a taste for Pete Murray’s casually cool and charming sound, take the time to check him out live—you will not be disappointed. Even if you don’t normally enjoy his style, his shows are quality and enthusiastic, you’ll be bopping along to the classics no matter how hard you try not to.
Murray still has heaps of dates left on his Camancho Tour, he will be visiting Shepparton, Victoria, on August 9 next, before hitting up the rest of the eastern states.