By Christina Croucher
Artist: Bernard Fanning
Date / Venue: Friday August 30th, The Powerstation, Auckland
You wouldn't have guessed this was the last show of the Departures tour. Bernard Fanning hit every note perfectly and his high energy band exuded a fun and charismatic vibe and looked like they loved every minute of playing together. They were appreciative and responsive to the audience's enjoyment of their tightly played, genre-rich music.
Rock, country, blues, and a touch of jazz and gospel were mixed to perfection. We were taken from soft to heavy and back around again and were aurally indulged with an array of instruments. Aside from the brilliant band, Bernard was heavily on his guitar, played the maracas during the funky ‘Here Comes The Saddest', jammed the tambourine and even the harmonica was visited throughout the gig too. The sounds were so heavy, rhythmic and organic. I was often transferred to the long open roads in Australia - at times even the lighting was Marigold. We had some amazing bluesy piano solos from his passionate keyboardist and the night was finished off with a big drum solo - one of a few. All of the songs had numerous elements and progressions to them creating a great journey for the audience.
Bernard was captivating with his honest execution all the way through. His pitch is bang on but with a rasp that resonates honesty and experience. He's so loose when he performs - he's definitely nailed the strut on this album. The night was predominately heavy with drum and electric guitar laden Battleships, Tell Me How It Ends, Drake; and Inside Track was one of the highlights for the classic rock fans.
There was a decent amount of acoustic and vocally-centred tracks including the subtle but beautiful Call You Home. The romantic Grow Around You, Songbird (one of the audience's highlights off "Tea and Sympathy") andBlue Toowong Skies which Bernard beautifully executed. His band backed him with smooth harmonies then left him to a solo heartfelt acapella to finish. Bernard asked to please keep quiet for this one - shame Auckland couldn't quite manage this.
Something we could also practice as a city is our rhythm. It was funny to watch Bernard try and get the audience to hold clapping throughout a few of his songs - which was quite a predominant feature. In ‘Limbo Stick' and ‘Zero Sum Game' Auckland didn't manage for longer than the intro before losing the offbeat rhythms but it was a fun way to include the audience anyway.
Bernard finished with another awesome execution off Tea And Sympathy - Wish You Well which although a good song anyway sounds so much better live! Auckland finished on a high note and the band said their warm goodbyes. When they come back I will definitely be taking people along from a few generations.