Published on theMusic.com.au, Jun 2018
Perth Concert Hall
Michael Bolton is an interesting character. While many of his creative counterparts throughout the years have become stuck somewhere between novelty and nostalgia, Bolton has risen above, and within minutes of the music legend taking to the stage, it was clear why.
Calm and collected, he quickly found his groove with Perth Symphony Orchestra, led by acclaimed conductor Jessica Gethin, as his trademark raspy vocal tones gave a new edge to Ben E. King’s Stand by Me.
Crooning through the chorus of To Love Somebody, Bolton gave it his all, playfully sweeping through big string sections and backing vocals, and when he wasn’t stunning audience members through song, he was charming them with quick-wit and anecdotes.
His dry humour didn’t always connect, but that’s part of what makes his onstage presence so great; what you see is what you get. Bolton’s down-to-earth aura makes his lyrics more relatable and also encouraged numerous heckles throughout the evening and even a mid-show signing request, all of which he used to his advantage to create comedy gold.
While reinterpreted Frank Sinatra (That’s Life) and Bob Dylan (Make You Feel My Love) songs, among others, were welcome to additions the setlist, it was during original numbers like Said I Loved You… But I Lied that all the pieces came together and the atmosphere was electric.
Bolton’s more than aware that collaboration is key when it comes to music – as his fruitful songwriting career to-date proves – and the addition of Australian singer Silvie Palad to the stage for a handful of duets was a welcome change of pace.
After going through the motions of How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and more, Palad was given the stage for a stirring version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah while the man of the hour temporality disappeared.
Another focal point of the evening was Jason Peterson DeLaire, who well and truly stole the show with a gut-wrenching rendition of You Are So Beautiful, before the evening came to a roaring close with a medley of hits including How Can We Be Lovers, Steel Bars, Time, Love And Tenderness and encore Soul Provider, knocking the emotional wind out of everyone in attendance.
Bolton’s back catalogue is as diverse as any, and with decades of hits across numerous genres to pick from, there was never a dull moment, rendering the setlist a perfect snapshot of his career to-date, encapsulating his best original work, re-interpretations, humour, charm and more.