Teatro along Southbank Promenade (food was good, service not so much) Tash and I headed to Hamer Hall for Paul Kelly Presents The Merri Soul Sessions. The opening act for the evening was Emma Donovan & The Putbacks. Joined by Kylie Auldist on backing vocals, they played a soulful set of songs and sounded great.
The musicians assembled by Paul Kelly for The Merri Soul Sessions were an amazing bunch of Australian talent. The album itself has songs written and sung by a variety of members of the group, as well as covers of a couple Paul Kelly tracks. The evening started with Vika and Linda Bull taking turns singing lead on the the first two songs "What You Want" and "Smells Like Rain." Paul Kelly dedicated "Thank You" to a couple after receiving a letter, and it resulted in a marriage proposal during the song (she said yes). Dan Sultan and Clairy Browne did a sultry duet of "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby."
It was the Paul Kelly tracks from his back catalogue though that got the biggest response, with "How To Make Gravy, "Song From The Sixteenth Floor," Clairy's version of "Keep On Coming Back For More," Dan singing "Look So Fine, Feel So Low" (complete with audience sing along), Kira Puru doing "Give In To My Love" and Vika's great rendition of "Sweet Guy." In the encore everyone joined in to sing "Dumb Things" and then the six vocalists gathered around a microphone in the middle of the stage to sing "Meet Me In The Middle Of The Air" a capella. It was a moving finish to such a fantastic evening of music.
Here's a clip about how The Merri Soul Sessions came to be: