Patty Griffin's whirlwind tour in November last year gave her Australian fans a rare opportunity to see her perform live for the first time. It was gratifying for her die hard fans to see her return so soon for the festival circuit and several side shows in capital cities.
It was perhaps rather ambitious on her promoter's part to book her for the Palais this time round when music lovers are spoilt for choice in a plethora of International acts hitting the scene simultaneously. The audience on Friday night by no means filled the house, but for those of us who wouldn't miss one of her performances for anything, it was a splendid show and much appreciated by the audience, who accorded Patty a standing ovation at the end of the concert.
On this tour Patty was accompanied by percussionist Michael Longoria and as well as Doug Lancio on guitar. The addition of a drummer enhanced the overall ambience of the show. Michael Longoria's percussive effects were subtle, but beautifully in time with Patty's songs. Doug Lancio's wonderful guitar playing was again much appreciated and added to the depth of sound in the show.
The evening began with a short set by support artist Paul Greene. It was a typical singer songwriter performance which was received favourably by the early arrivals at the theatre.
Patty Griffin and band stepped onto the stage punctually at 9.30, launching straight into a beautiful cover of Tom Waits Hang On St Christopher, after which Patty remarked she was starting the show with other people's songs and followed this through with her rendition of Get Yourself Another Fool by Sam Cooke.
Patty cheerily remarked on the close vicinity of Luna Park to the theatre, saying that the screams of the little girls on the roller coaster made her feel happy.
She introduced the next song as being inspired by a returned soldier in her home town, the shell shocked Indian of Chief, a song from her 1000 Kisses album. Another song from the same album Making Pies followed.
Seating herself at the piano, placed centre stage, Patty commented that the instrument was from Tasmania, which state was on her itinerary this tour. She said she was excited to see Tasmanian devils and had taken photos to show her niece who is a fan of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon.
Patty thereafter sang her purportedly sole happy song, the lovely Burgundy Shoes, which she states was inspired by her mother. It's a song that shines as brightly as the repeated word "sun" in the chorus. Patty herself was wearing silver shoes on the night, and was dressed in a floral skirt with matching cream top. Her guitar strap was constructed of iridescent material that sparkled in the stage lighting with complementary brilliance to Patty Griffin's voice.
The unreleased Riding with the Amazons was a new song for me and no doubt the rest of the audience. An eccentric song with a chorus line that goes: "Many have tried, many have died/ Riding with the Amazons"
There were many highlights on the night, but Patty's version of the Tejano ballad Mil Besos was a winner, also Top of the World, Kite Song and Mary - the latter performed in the encore - were warmly welcomed by the audience.
Patty hinted at the end of the night that she will be returning to Australia in the not too distant future. She obviously enjoyed her stay on these shores and professed a great affection for Melbourne and its concert venues, three of which she has now played in.
As previously mentioned the audience gave a standing ovation to Patty at the end of the show, which would I imagine more than make up for the half empty theatre.
Review and photos by Anne Sydenham