David Campbell @ 16 Footers, Belmont – 28 November 2009

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I love Australian music, but it takes a very special performer to compel me to buy tickets for each and every tour. David Campbell is one such talent. I caught the Good Lovin’ tour when it rolled around the first time in March, but was keen to go back for a second serve on Saturday night.

David Campbell   16 Footers  Belmont   28 November 2009 davidcampbell16s jpg

While it was still called the Good Lovin’ show, I definitely wasn’t seeing the same concert. While many performers recycle their set lists and even their jokes as they tour about the country, David Campbell always appears fresh. He may have played gigs every day for months, but he didn’t show any signs of fatigue.

The set list was really different from the one I enjoyed in March, but with such an extensive back catalogue to draw from that’s never a bad thing. The sixties album Good Lovin’ was featured of course, with both album tracks and a few more inspired choices from the era. Chicago’s “Saturday In the Park” was lots of fun, and you could have heard a pin drop in the romantic ballad “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Then there were the standards drawing from both Swing Sessions CDs. Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguin” was another showstopper, while “Just a Gigolo” and “That’s Life” saw everyone singing along. A Louis Prima medley featuring The Jungle Book’s “I Wanna Be Like You” and “Pennies from Heaven” was another great surprise. David went back even further with tracks from Shout, his first big break in this country. We were treated to a taste of David’s forthcoming Broadway album with “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables, a profoundly moving performance that leaves me desperate to hear the new disc. His version of his father’s classic Cold Chisel number “Flame Trees” was also incredible.

The songs may have been markedly different, but their familiarity and David’s charisma helps make the eclectic mix work. I don’t think there’s a better showman in this country. He jokes easily with the audience, sharing anecdotes and delivering witty one-liners. He gyrates his hips like a modern day Elvis, making his female fans squeal with delight. But just as easily as he can make the room move, he can make it stop. He delivers a ballad like no one I’ve ever seen, with such a compelling stillness and conviction. With equal measures of heart and humour, David Campbell delivers one of the best shows I have ever seen in this country. I already can’t wait for the next tour.

Image source: own photo