David Gray at the Palais Theatre

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By Rubal K


Rating – 4/5


Picture by Jacqueline Walker

His voice is like a smoky Scotch; it gets better with age. The spirit keeps you cosy and soothes all your senses.

The drive back to Melbourne after a lazy Easter weekend along the Great Ocean Road was all about David Gray’s good old croaky voice and his warm musical expressions.

The touring band comprised of eight musicians; David Gray (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano), Rob Malone (bass guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals), Keith Prior (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Tim Bradshaw (keyboards, lap steel, backing vocals), John Smith (guitars, backing vocals), Caroline Dale (cello, piano, backing vocals), David Kitt (guitars, keys, backing vocals), and Niamh Farrell (backing vocals).

Mutineers (album released in 2014) – Most touring acts usually take the first couple of songs to get warmed up, but David Gray showed no signs of early nerves, and sedated his fans with the first song of the evening; ‘Birds Of The High Artic’. Moving on, David took the opportunity to showcase some more of his latest works with outstanding numbers like ‘Mutineers’, ‘Last Summer’, ‘Gulls’, and ‘Girl Like You’.

Kudos – After more than two decades of music making, David Gray’s ‘Mutineers’ album turns a new leaf, as he steps away from his tried and tested methods. While his signature voice gives that comforting feeling of familiarity, the music on the new album incorporates the use of digital technology blended with contemporary music to create almost a genre of its own.

Tease – As if David knew what the crowd was thinking; he decided to throw in ‘My Oh My’ from the ‘White Ladder’ (1998) album. Little did we realise that it was just a teaser, followed by some more recent numbers such as ‘Fugitive’, ‘Kathleen’ and ‘The One I Love’. It was evident that our cherished act was not going to give anything away too cheaply, as he went on to perform an unreleased song: ‘Dancing with both feet off the ground’.

Can hardly wait – Well over an hour into the concert, fans were truly on the edge of their seats; foot tapping and clapping along every chance they got. As anticipated, David was starting to lean back more towards the older hits such as ‘Shine’, ‘This Year’s Love’, ‘Sail Away’, and ‘Please Forgive Me’.

Party time – The venue was almost at capacity with only a handful empty seats. A small group of fans even danced in the isle, which wasn’t agreeable with the usher. It was quite amusing to see a disgruntled usher give up as soon as he realised that the fans were simply ignoring his requests to remain seated.

Encore – Well, we got the cake, but did we get to eat it? After nearly two hours of singing, David took a bow and walked off the stage. But you can’t let David Gray send you home without performing your favourite track. A few moments later, David walked back on to the stage and mesmerised one and all with an acoustic (solo) version of ‘Babylon’ – probably one of most memorable sing-along moments for the happy fans.

An intimate, but by no means a small concert. There were many soft moments, but David’s voice pumped every pulse with as much euphoria that one could possibly handle. Everyone seemed like they were high on something; must have been nostalgia.

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