Josh Pyke, Elana Stone @ Queens Theatre, Adelaide 17/11/2023

Two months after dazzling audiences in the collaborative The White Album concert, Josh Pyke returned to Tarntanya/ Adelaide to launch his Revisions solo tour.

With a decades-long back catalogue peppered with hits, the singer-songwriter created Revisions (2023). A re-imagining or revision of favourites, songs that hold a special place in the memories and dust of countless devotees.

Nestled within the bare walls, open beams and corrugated iron roof of Queens Theatre, Pyke opened with Memories & Dust. The fan favourite was a stellar introduction to what was to be an entertaining evening. Promoted as the world premiere of hearing Revisions in full, that didn’t quite eventuate. An eleventh-hour revision of the set list altered that trajectory.

Supported by Freya Schack-Arnott (cello) and Elana Stone (keys/ accordion/ vocals), who feature on the album, Pyke led us through a unique fifteen-song performance. Doubting Thomas was elevated by Schack-Arnott’s cello. Forever Song by Stone’s keys.

Let’s pause for a moment and discuss Stone.

A primary school friend of Pyke, Stone shared the stage with him and also opened the night with her own enjoyable set. Showcasing songs featured on her upcoming album People Come and People Go, slated for release in 2024, Stone was highly entertaining. Her talent was undeniable as she shared Oregon, Loose Lips, People Come and People Go, Bulletproof, Sleep Doesn’t Come, Permanent Limbo, and Cephalopods.

Within minutes, we were enamoured by Stone. Her relaxed and candid attitude was endearing. She backed it up with breathtaking vocals and exemplary musicianship. Having her later join Pyke was a delight because she is moreish.

Josh Pyke is a storyteller. Beyond his authoring children’s books, his songs are exquisite narratives that offer insight into his life. During this show, he gave additional awareness of this via numerous anecdotes. Leeward Side, with delightful harmonies from Pyke and Stone, was written about his eldest son. While You’re My Colour is about his youngest. Sharing the meaning behind the lyric “Oh, I’ll miss the weight of you” brought tears to some and strong emotions to others. That emotion carried over to Pyke as he sang. It was a testament to the personal nature of this intimate show.

We also heard Your Heart Won’t Always Weigh a Tonne, Staring Down the Sun, Middle of the Hill, Clovis’ Son, and Vibrations in the Air. The summer-themed songs were particularly potent – The Summer, with a stunning accordion solo, and The Jezabels cover, Endless Summer. Both will live rent-free in this reviewer’s mind for a long time.

The final two songs of the night were also revised covers. New Slang (The Shins) and Closing Time (Semisonic) wrapped up a beautiful performance.

Like a fine wine, Josh Pyke continues to improve with age. His Revisions tour exemplified this notion. Filled with songs you know and love, stories to make you laugh and cry, and A-class musicianship, it is one not to miss…despite the unsettling bare ankles you may be exposed to.

Live Review By Anita Kertes

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