Henry Rollins @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 8/6/2023

Henry Rollins doesn’t walk out on stage, he bounces out, already talking before he gets to the front of the bare stage. And Henry likes to talk, and talk, and talk, not even taking a breath between sentences.

Henry has opinions and you may not always agree with him, but according to Henry, “that’s is OK”. However, he does put his case across very well.

Henry is trying to help make this Earth a better place by the end of the century, or at least a better place than it was at the beginning of the century. Not that he, or us, will be here at the end of the century, in fact he kept telling us during the evening he will probably drop dead about September or October, along with Trump and Biden. Is there something he isn’t telling us?

If a Henry Rollins show was a musical, it would be Prog Rock, despite him coming from a punk background. He was on stage for two and half hours with no break and as a Prog band would only play four songs in that time, Henry only told us four stories. But these stories wove in and out, while keeping you in the palm of his hand the whole time. It rained heavily during one story and Henry deviated to tell us our rain was better than American rain, which can kill you.

Story one was about a time a drunk confronted him after a show while he was talking to fans, accusing Henry of having his wife on the tour bus. The second story got a bit strange and dark, although funny at times, as he delved into the life and passing of his mother. The longest story was of a Finnish stalker determined to get into Henry’s house and the last about being old and going to see bands playing at clubs, standing at the back in the dark, something that I can relate to, and like Henry, do with great joy. I am not going to give away any punch lines or outcomes, as it is best you see Henry yourself.

During the evening he drops some names of artists he has interacted with, such as Iggy Pop who he holds in high esteem. There was also mention of Lemmy and many of the punk bands and characters from the 70’s and 80’s who “formed” Henry’s life. I actually thought we may have got more “music” stories, but stories about Henry’s life are just as interesting.

Towards the end, Henry gets a bit more serious, trying to solve world problems and talking about mental health. As he said at the beginning, “you may not agree with me, but that is OK”. You may not agree with everything he says, but what he says, certainly makes you think.

Also impressive was the fact, Henry, an ex-hardcore, angry, punk, spoke for two and half hours and not once, uttered a swear word.

Henry Rollins is in Australia until July 3, doing his show. If you get the chance, grab a ticket and go see him. He pulls no punches, but will have you laughing and thinking the whole time. It is a very entertaining way to spend an evening.

Live Review By Geoff Jenke

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