Photos by Sheldon Ang Photography
The dexterous soloist orchestrates one of the slickest chord changes ever executed in this iconic hall.
The eight fingers and two hands caressing the fretboard before stimulating the six-string acoustics with lightning speed like Bruce Lee weaving his artform in Enter the Dragon, as it’s as mesmerising as it is intimidating. The capacity crowd is hypnotised, drawn in awe from the poetic lyrics intertwining beautifully with the rock jam. And as if that wasn’t overwhelming, the soaring range of his melodic vocals overtakes the guitar from the shock and awe duties…echoing into the darkness…followed by dead silence…
As Chuck Berry once said, Ian Moss can play the guitar like a ringin’ a bell. Despite known as the guitarist of one of Australia’s most iconic brands, tonight the crowd also got to listen to Ian Moss as a world-class vocalist. Australian Guitar Magazine placed Moss at number three in the list of the greatest guitarist in this land, after Angus Young and Tommy Emmanuel. Two years on, NewsCorp conducted a survey asking a broad panel of guitarists; the outcome unanimously propelled Moss to the coveted spot. Considering neither Angus nor Tommy is a vocalist, tonight the fans were in the presence of the greatest singer-songwriter/guitarist in Australian music.
Moss graced the stage of the Regal Theatre as a lone ranger, igniting the night with Cry Me a River (yep, the Julie London rendition), casting the spirit of jazz and blues onto the (mainly) over the roaring forty’s crowd. Indeed, a surprising spark to the solo performance by the guitarist of Cold Chisel to some, showcasing the vocal gymnastic and emanating the spirit of the legendary American while transcending the heartaches of the present times and into a sense of hope, despite the thematic sobriety of the song. Moss oozed more soul than some would come to expect. The next song was a Message from Baghdad (written by Moss’s brother) from the Six Strings Album, “a song about the invasion of Iraq by George Bush Junior”, followed by My Suffering from the 2018 self-titled album Ian Moss.
Despite Moss has released seven solo studio albums, many were also looking to ride on the nostalgic train of Cold Chisel, such as the 80’s hits Flame Trees and When the War is Over. Saturday Night became the Karaoke of the night with the crowd encouraged to join the night with “the guys ‘Saturday Night’ and the girls ‘toot too toot too’”.
And for the rest of us, we were also here for Tucker’s Daughter and Telephone Booth from the debut album Matchbook – arguably the most successful album of Moss’s solo career, sealing the Alice Spring born singer as a coveted solo artist.
Did You Know: Tucker’s Daughter was meant to be about the failed attempts in treaties and world peace, with the punchline, Build it up and tear it down? Read more in a recent Ian Moss interview with this writer: https://www.aroundthesound.com.au/ian-moss-live/
Matchbook remains as the seminal piece for Moss, peaking at number one in the ARIA charts. In the ARIA Music Awards of 1990, the artist took home the Album of the Year, Best Male Artist, Breakthrough Artist – Album, Single of the Year and Breakthrough Artist, scooping 5 categories.
Moss almost ended the night with Broadway – “a track about FIFO workers”, Choir Girl and fittingly Bow River – a dedication to the outback town in Western Australia, but not before reminiscing a ten-minute reflection of a road trip with his Cold Chisel buddies in WA in the late 70’s. The depth of a story even in a time constricted event was not surprising to this writer, given the level of details and enthusiasm Moss oozed during that interview.
And Almost – because as soon as the night was supposed to be over, Moss graced the stage again; “Woi woi come back…let’s have the after party here”. Just like the opening track, the night ended with a bluesy track, scintillating Ray Charles’ rendition of Georgia in My Mind, exposing his vulnerability as an artist through a gorgeous and soulful display with palpable sincerity.
Tonight, the fans had witnessed a masterclass on guitar and vocals. If you have a chance to witness the legend as he’s on tour, do not let the opportunity slip. In fact, Mossy will be touring again in October-December with Troy Cassar-Daley!
The writer would also like to thank Chris from Tree Hill Music for the invite, and the lovely staff of “the iconic Regal Theatre in a beautiful suburb” – in the words of Mossy.
Special guest: Lo (yep – just Lo, like Madonna, Cher, Prince – or whatever), a Perth based singer songwriter delivering beautifully haunting and poignant music with echoes of futurism across the floor through her unbridled honesty, mesmerising the matured audiences back into the times of heartbreak and melancholy with tracks from her enchanting debut EP Plan For An Independent Future and singles Honey, Floating and Disconnect.