Published on theMusic.com.au, Jul 2017
Aussie treasure Russell Morris was quick to spread the Black Dog Blues, strutting around the stage with an acoustic guitar and cowboy hat while his band unleashed a classic blues rock onslaught, led by insanely talented guitarist Pete Robinson.
His renowned pipes got a workout during Dylan hit It’s All Over Now Baby Blue and things only heated up from there – Morris crooning his way through Wings Of An Eagle before finally giving up The Real Thing. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a Russell Morris headline show.
The Tin Man set the stage for America with its quirky rhythm and spot-on harmonies; Dewey Bunnell’s voice instantly conjured up an overwhelming sense of nostalgia with most of the audience transfixed on the US rock legends.
With one of the most unique voices in rock, main man Gerry Beckley took control for You Can Do Magicbefore newcomer Andy Barr really stole the spotlight as he took lead for Don’t Cross The River while simultaneously driving the song with fast-paced banjo riffs.
A crisp acoustic guitar medley paved the way to 1971 as the band visited their roots with Riverside and I Need You from their debut album. The former showcased their classic rock skillset while the ballad was from a more intimate segment of the band’s diverse songwriting repute.
Keeping things in chronological order, they jumped across to album number two and a song that pertained that classic America sound, Ventura Highway, proving just how quickly they found their sound in the ‘70s.
After paying tribute to their long running producer, George Martin, they dived into a cover of Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby – a fitting transition given Martin’s status as the fifth Beatle.
Continuing their obsession with all things liquid, Down To The Water evolved into an insane jam session, with Beckley finally revealing his fast finger work during its guitar solo.
“These aren’t oldies, they’re classic rock,” said Beckley. You can label their extensive back catalogue any number of things, but worn out isn’t one of them – including megahits Sister Golden Hair and A Horse With No Name. 47 years in the biz and America aren’t showing any signs of slowing down soon.