Sunday, May 25, 2014

Things Of Stone And Wood- 25th Anniversary Tour

It's been 25 years since Things of Stone and Wood formed so the original line up have reunited and hit the road for a small run of shows to celebrate their 25th anniversary.  Taking advantage of a special dual show ticket price, I have spent the last couple days at the Northcote Social Club for their first two sold out Melbourne shows- an evening performance on Saturday and matinee show today that included quite a few kids in the audience.

The opening act was singer-songwriter Carus Thompson who played a solo set on acoustic guitar and harmonica.  His songs told stories about current events, personal experiences and his travels.  For the song "I Found Love" about a prisoner he encountered at a jail house gig in Germany, he came into the audience to sing and got us all to join in on the chorus.  His set was engaging and entertaining.  The next act was Gentle Persuasion, another early 1990s Melbourne folk-rock band that was around at the same time as Things of Stone and Wood which has also come out of retirement for this tour.  I had never heard of them before as they disbanded before I came to Australia for the first time, but there were some definite fans in the audience who were singing along to the songs in their set.  I think they are the only opening band I have ever seen come back on for an encore!

Both Julie and I commented that the guys in Things of Stone and Wood really haven't aged that much over the years.  The set lists for both shows were pretty similar, with a strong focus on songs from their debut album The Yearning.  It was great to hear "Share This Wine," "Beg," "Rock This Boat," and beautiful acoustic versions of "Rain Fell Down" and "Single Perfect Raindrop."  As expected there was a huge audience sing along for "Happy Birthday Helen," and pogo jumping by both the band and crowd for "Barkly Street," with Greg Arnold and Mikey Allen joking that they were risking middle-aged soft tissue injuries to do it. 

Justin Brady had a very impressive two harmonica solo at the opening of "Hand Grenade," and at today's show Greg played a solo acoustic version of "The Yearling" (which he said he last played live in 1994).  The hour and a half sets also included my faves "She Will Survive," "Beautiful Wonderful" and "Wildflowers," although it was disappointing that there were no songs played from the album Whirligig.  It was great to hear some stories about the band's history in between songs, and for today's finale a couple members of Gentle Persuasion came on stage to sing "Roar" which was a song by their combined folk super-group back in the day called Four.  All in all these two shows were pretty special and I feel fortunate to have been able to see the original line up live and in such great form.

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