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PAUL KELLY – OPTUS PARK

Making Gravy
Making Gravy

PAUL KELLY, MAKING GRAVY TOUR
OPTUS PARK
7 December 2019

Photos by Bridey Eggleton

Editor’s Note
Around The Sound’s Bridey Eggleton brings us a wonderful cross-generational review of Paul Kelly’s Making Gravy tour kick off at Optus Park, having spent the evening with her Mum and Dad. For the record, we were there too and just wanted to add:

Courtney Barnett played a stellar set, announcing her arrival as a genuine international superstar and punching the punk into her songbook with no regard for this being a Christmas gig attended mostly by older generations. It was a ripping set. Can’t wait to see what Barnett does next!

Paul Kelly and his band pulled out all the stops to give the audience the hits and a few deep cuts. There were whoops of joyous delight, massive sing alongs, plenty of dancing, tears of joy and some sadness. The younger generation in the ATS ed’s family vehemently denies that How To Make Gravy is a Christmas song. He’s wrong! This now regular event cements the song as one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time and extends Kelly’s legend status. He can do whatever he likes, but what he likes doing best is pleasing his audience, and Kelly did that and then some this evening.

Now back to Bridey …

My parents have been waiting patiently since the tour was announced in August for this day to come.  When tickets finally went on sale I jumped online and ordered them. Mum and Dad aren’t great with technology.

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Flying down from Broome, my parents were in the big smoke to see one of their favourite artists from when they were younger. Catching a Didi for the first time we arrived at Optus Stadium, they were excited to be so close to the action in the Gravy Train area.

“You’re the youngest people here.” My mother told me as she looked around, she was right, I was pretty young compared to rest of the audience.

The first act of the night was New Zealander, Marlon Williams, accompanied by his band, after a quick Google search I found out he was in A Star Is Born, so I really didn’t know what to expect.

Once they started to play I was pleasantly surprised as they gave off a Methyl Ethel vibe with their funky tunes.

“Here’s a couple you might know, probably not, doesn’t matter, we know them at least.” Williams laughed as they began to play another song.

Before finishing their set they went on to play a song about the New Zealand bird of the year, the hoiho, a little yellow eyed penguin.

Praising the other bands he kicked over his beer and looked at the audience laughing.

“Oh shit, I’m just a little excited!” Williams said.

They finished their set with a Christmas carol, which of course had a twist and the audience loved it, some even giving the band a standing ovation.

I myself really enjoyed the vibes they gave out and will be adding them to my playlist.

Next up was someone both my parents were looking forward too, Kate Miller-Heidke, someone I’d never listened to before.

As she began her set, her beautiful vocals hypnotised the audience, everyone looked in awe as she belted out some of her well known songs.

Miller-Heidke has been singing since the early 2000s, her single, Caught In The Crowd, released in 2009 has close to two million views on YouTube.

Taking to the stage with her new band they played to a crowd of over 7,000 people seated on their rugs and camping chairs, they were definitely enjoying her set.

“I entered a competition this year, you might of heard of it before, its called Eurovision.” Miller-Heidke told the crowd.

She represented Australia this year and sang her single, Zero Gravity, and made it into the Grand Final.

I liked her set, it was something I wouldn’t usually listen but could see how much everyone else was enjoying it, I especially enjoyed the matching moon and star tambourine she had with one of her band members.

My parents asked me who Courtney Barnett was and what she was like.  I love her, and her unique sound but I warned my parents that they probably wouldn’t.

She jumped on stage and started us off with City Looks Pretty, one of her best known songs.

My Dad had his hands over his ears and leaned in to tell me that he thought her voice was awful, it was clear then that music has changed over the generations.

As the sun began to set pink clouds formed around the stage.  Barnett was right the, city did look pretty.

As her set came to a close she invited her close friend Marlon Williams back on stage to sing a duet together.

Finishing the night with Pedestrian at Best the mosh at the barrier of the stage grew larger and more dancing began to occur.

My Mum enjoyed her set, her vocals and her lyrics which she continued to find quite humorous especially during Avant Gardener.

As the stars started to come out and the cold breeze kicked in people lined the stage barrier patiently waiting for the man that we’d all come out to see, Mr Paul Kelly.

The lights turned blue and the crowd went crazy as he wandered onto stage, guitar in hand and harmonica at the ready he started to sweep the crowd onto their feet.

Stopping completely mid song to fix his harmonica, he had a laugh and hoped to get it right this time, he started where he left off and the whole audience erupted in laughter and cheer.

He welcomed his whole band on stage including Vika and Linda Bull, who received a warm welcome, almost as warm as their fantastic dance moves.

Leaving their rugs and chairs behind, the audience leapt to their feet, much to my parents’ despair who’s view was now blocked and their rug was being stood on, my mother was not happy.

As I left the photo pit I looked at faces of the fans, one lady was in tears of joy as Paul Kelly continued to grace the audience.

Kelly sang Dumb Things and the whole of the audience sang it back, even I did.

The joy was contagious, the beautiful singing, the amazing dance moves and the happiness of the audience.

Kelly invited his opening acts one by one to join him on stage for different duets, changing things up and showing off their talent.

The rain started to come down just before 10pm but it didn’t rain on anyone’s parade, oldies sure know how to bust a move, even while holding picnic rugs over their heads.

As it started to bucket down Kelly took a moment and make sure the audience was okay.

“Are you okay in the rain? We have a couple more songs just for you.”

The audience yelled back and Kelly began to play How To Make Gravy, the whole purpose of his tour, and what a delight it was.

Paul Kelly isn’t someone I’d usually listen to but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed how the audience was generations older but have the same love of music that I do. I enjoyed their carefree dance moves and their loud singing voices. The only problem I had was when my parents disappeared from the venue and rang when they got back to the hotel telling me they had left.

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