Alone with his guitar, Pete Murray begins strumming the chords to Silver Cloud. Immediately recognised by the packed crowd we sing along, soothed by his more refined vocals. His trusted harmonica appears and the mechanical structure holding it sits around his neck. It is then he begins to play Bail Me Out and the entire crowd, regardless of gender, simultaneously swoon. I’m not sure why the tracks from his debut, Feeler, always get the best reactions. Most probably it’s because they’re the songs that people first fell in love with nearly a decade ago.
Pete welcomes Brett Wood to the stage and the night’s crowd talk really begins. He relays the poignant story behind Ten Ft Tall as he does every live show, but lightens the mood a few songs later when he talks of Brett mucking up the loop on Tonic earlier in the tour. Despite releasing his fourth album a few months ago, Pete sticks predominantly to his earlier work. He asks us if we’ve got the new album and its clear that I’m in the minority for knowing all the lyrics to the likes of Led and Blue Sky Blue. When he later takes requests (something I hugely respect artists for doing) I don’t feel my fancying of new album track Let You Go is one that would have gotten the best response from the crowd.
And yet everyone knows all the words to Opportunity. In fact, every time I’ve seen Pete live (this being the fifth) it’s always been the track to get the best response. A personal favourite of mine, the lyrics seem even more direct when performed live just a few metres in front of you. Looking over at Brett, the two musicians clearly enjoy performing together and when the nod is given, Brett takes over the vocals for ‘the coffee verse’. The girl next to me turns to her boyfriend as notes “they sound the same’, though I disagree. Each offers something different and Brett’s slight alterations of the speed of the vocals offer an alternative perspective.
Pete offers his English accent after Better Days. Switching from the humorous tone of his appauling attempt, the mood changes when he talks about the power of that song and how it stopped a friend’s friend from committing suicide.
“Last night when I performed this I forgot the lyrics” Pete says as he introduces the crowd’s request of Happy Ground. As expected, he forgets them again – after just the second line – and Google comes to the rescue.
The evening continues with a mix of the new and old making for a long set. As we clap him back onto the stage we are treated to a harmonica-led Saving Grace and a rare performance of King Tide where he once again forgot the lyrics. Finishing with So Beautiful, we bid farewell to Pete and Brett and a room full of Australian couples disappear into the night as my mum and I run for the last train home.