EARLE & ALLISON MOORER - THE PRINCE - 15 NOVEMBER 2005
It is appropriate that Steve Earle's first Melbourne concert in his current tour was performed in the evening of the National Day of Action, where a record number of protesters took to the streets in opposition to the Government's proposed Industrial Relations changes. Steve Earle, no stranger to the left side of politics, has been vehement in his opposition to the American administration's foreign policy and the changes wrought on his country post 9/11. His latest album, The Revolution Starts Now is, like its predecessor Jerusalem, in protest mode, full of scathing, angry songs. Earle has attitude with a capital "A" and this is cogently demonstrated in the two aforementioned records and also in his live shows.
After quite a long hiatus in proceedings, the piped sound became Gil Scott Heron's hip hop anthem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" as the lights dimmed. Audience expectation grew, then Steve Earle and the Dukes bounded on stage and launched into "The Revolution Starts Now", an undeniably rousing prelude to a night of loud rock n roll. Another song from the latest record, "Home to Houston" followed in quick succession. Allison Moorer emerged for "Conspiracy Theory" providing background vocals to Steve Earle's raspy rendition. She was to add her engaging presence to several more songs during the show -dueting in place of Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams respectively on "Coming Around" and "You're Still Standing There". The honeymooning couple exchanged smouldering glances across the stage and at one stage clinched in a passionate embrace. It was sweet to see how much in love they were with each other.
The tongue in cheek love song to Condoleeza Rice "Condi Condi" sung to a calypso beat, encouraged the audience to sing along in the chorus, something I have not witnessed before at a Steve Earle concert. "I Thought You Should Know" and the title track to Jerusalem which, by Steve's admission was written at the Prince, "Transcendental Blues" "F the FCC" and finally a reprise of "The Revolution Starts Now", segueing into the Beatles song "Revolution", ended the main show.
Throughout the night, the Dukes - Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (Guitar), Kelly Looney (Bass) Will Rigby (Drums) plus Patrick Earle helping out on drums and also playing the giant bin, labelled WMD, during "Conspiracy Theory" - provided excellent support. They are a great band.
With the addition of Allison Moorer to the mix, it was a night to remember and fittingly, considering the unionist day of action, very much in tune with the revolution.
Review and photos by Anne Sydenham