Concert Review with PHOTOS: Jimmy Barnes


By Shane Jones

Artist: Jimmy Barnes

Date / Venue: Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

 Jimmy Barnes certainly doesn’t need any introduction at all, We have all heard of him through his music over the years one way or another, with Cold Chisel and of course his solo work.

Born James Dixon Swan back in 56, he is a real in your face, wham bam its all over man kind of person - with his energetic fast paced song singing attitude. When hes on the stage you know its going to be rough and ready lets get it over and done with style with 200% passion.

So what has brought him up this way? Who is he really? And does his music reflect him as a person? Well all these answers and more are set out straight from the lips from the man himself. This show Working Class Man (biography) at the Issac Theatre Royal in front of 1,200 people in attendance, is a follow up from his first book Working Class Boy which came out in August 2017. And as I listened and watched I thought ‘wow man, how are you still going?’.

Through all the booze and drugs he’s consumed over the years, one would think ‘hell, are you related to Keith Richards?’. I don’t want to spoil too much of what the content of the show is but let me tell you something - he has a wicked sense of humour and you will be laughing in your seats. You’ll see Jimmy in a different light... thank god its not the bright light at the end of the tunnel, and hope that he’s around for many years to come.

He introduces his backlit screen images and will tell you little stories behind the scenes of how certain songs came about. And with the way he tells it you’re going to think ‘wow you have lived it like a rockstar with the sex, drugs, booze and rock n roll’.

With Jimmy being Australia’s #1 selling artist of all time, with having more #1’s than the Beatles, and then when you take a look at his catalogue of songs, its in an order of his life and what he was feeling at the time.

I personally loved the show he has created and the way. He brings it across visually and is not boring at all. The only thing I thought could have been better would be having songs that got played in the background (not by his stage band) being brought down a few decibels, so that Jimmy wasn’t competing against it and you could hear what he had to say. He covers alot of ground in the 3 hours duration, from his chatting and song singing, his Chisel to his solo work with his 4 piece tight as hell band, with an intermission too half way through so that you have a break get some beverages, ice creams merch (there is lots of great items at great prices) etc... and of course the dreaded toilet stop before he really hits home on his personal life.

He really brings home the punch of life of “Don’t be afraid to talk, and get help”, as he brings across the topics of addictions, mental health and suicide.

I for one have seen and experienced family members that have been caught up in some of the issues Jimmy talks about, and know doubt you will also know of someone too. So it’s his way of getting the message across that although men don’t wanna talk about it, its really time to open up and get the help one would need. He closes off with a new song that he has only sung at previous shows, called Criminal Record, which is a song about his family, finishing with a standing ovation from the audience.

A must see show by all means. Christchurch has another show (Tues 8th) which is sold out, before he moves up the country playing shows in Auckland Fri 11th, and in Hamilton on Sat 12th. So do check it out.