Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2016
Rob Thomas, Pete Murray
Kings Park & Botanic Garden
Pandering the audience with cliche compliments, it was when Pete Murray turned his thick Aussie accent into husky vocals that he truly won the crowd over with singles Bail Me Out, and funky Feeler.
Stripped back or full band, Better Days and Always Be Your Man proved it was all in his heartfelt lyrics and carefully crafted melodies, before he was equipped with an electric guitar for some Class A rock to bring the mood up.
You couldn’t have asked for a better night, the powers that be delivering perfect conditions for the beauty of Kings Park, and man of the hour Rob Thomas — who made a brief appearance earlier as Murray’s “new roadie” — intended to take advantage of that.
From guitar tech to frontman, he had just as much class as sleaze with an almost calculated number of shirt buttons undone. One line into Give Me The Meltdown and flashes of ’90s pop rock came flooding in, with his trademark vocals as on point as ever.
After a joke-gone-wrong at the expense of the Indigenous community a couple of weeks earlier, Thomas was quick to address the elephant in the room in a respectful, tasteful way by thanking for the traditional land owners. He kept the good vibes alive and well, swiftly diving into the b-side bag and grabbing an acoustic for Sunday Morning New York Blue.
“I can party like a rockstar, but I can’t recover like one,” he admitted, leaping into coming of age single Heaven Help Meoff new album The Great Unknown. It must have sent decent vibes out as the next tune, love song Ever The Same, was dedicated to a couple that got engaged moments earlier.
The best Pieces of the show culminated in “classic rock show shenanigans” as the ballad played out to thousands of smartphone lights and a stripped by version of Matchbox Twenty’s 3AM with Thomas on a white, worn piano sealed the deal. Rob Thomas toes an interesting line between pop and rock star, mastering the best of both worlds and delivering an upbeat, energetic performance.