Pete Murray was back in Adelaide over the weekend after touring less than twelve months ago with his latest album, Camacho. This 2018 tour saw Murray accompanied by only two other musicians on stage and brought many of his old and new hits to fans in a laid-back, acoustic and more intimate surrounding. Saturday’s show demonstrated that this format certainly worked for the Byron Bay musician. Stripped right back, the lyrics, rhythm and melody in his songs shone through. So too, did his powerhouse vocals and the beautiful harmonies of the three-piece outfit. It’s no wonder the two night-time shows at the Norwood Hotel sold out, with a third, Sunday session announced to cater for punters who had missed out.
New Zealander Matthew Armitage took to the stage first to warm up the crowd with a blues-inspired set. Songs Love From Afar and Dear To Me were met with appreciative applause from a crowd ready to have a great night out and be entertained.
When the main attraction Pete Murray strapped on his guitar and jumped on stage, it was standing-room only in the Norwood Hotel back room, with mainly women primed front-and-centre ready to dance and catch the attention of this former rugby player. Starting his set with some familiar tracks, You Pick Me Up and Bail Me Out, Murray’s strong vocals ably carried the songs and provided enough energy and emotion to relegate the guitars and backing loop to mere accompaniment. This is certainly a feat for any artist and on the back of similar performances by such greats as Ed Sheeran in Australia earlier this year, Pete Murray certainly held his own. The crowd enthusiastically danced along to newer track Sold off the Camacho album, and then chorused their way through Free. This favourite started off with a wonderful guitar riff by Murray which showcased his technical prowess on the frets. Further confirming that undertaking an acoustic tour was a wise decision, Murray and his ensemble took us on a ride through his seventeen-year musical career with songs such as Only One, H.O.L.L.A.N.D, Please, So Beautiful and Opportunity.
There with plenty of opportunities for crowd singalongs, banter and short tales from Murray about the meaning behind the songs. Murray displayed musical versatility on the harmonica, and various other loops and instruments such as the flute accompanied several tracks. The crowd were certainly pumped and most were singing and dancing along energetically by the time Murray started Better Days. The encore songs of Heartbeats and Always A Winner prompted much laughter and applause when a bra was hurled onto the stage which left Murray momentarily speechless.
Charismatic, ruggedly handsome and quintessentially Aussie, Murray certainly deserved the acclaim he received in Adelaide over the weekend. Without the backing beats or studio sounds evident in his latest album, Murray’s charm, vocals and talent were more than sufficient to entertain and enthral this Adelaide crowd – even causing one woman to venture home bra-less.
Live Review By Kim Burley