APRIL 17 – 2019





“2000 clicks from the Queensland border/ lying in a ditch out west of Wagga/ waiting on a ride from my only little brother/ he's been smoking up and drinking like my mother/ we were kids in the back of a white Centura/ Cold Chisel records and long straight roads/ clip around your ears when you talk back to her/ kids in the back of a white Centura.” - 2,000 Clicks - William Crighton.

It was a tough task for Riverina raised renegade picker William Crighton to kick the dew off the glass in this inner suburban music mecca.

Crighton was an acapella fellah for his opening tune as patrons dodged digital droogs on feral phones as they sought vantage points to witness the bearded bard from the bush.

Luckily, music lovers were spared the pain of mall and supermarket visitors waylaid by trolley and pram pushing phone freaks.

The singer-songwriter rapidly scored feedback - sadly not of audience appreciation - as his initial vocals were lost in the mix.

Crighton quipped that he had tuned his guitar backstage but for the benefit of fans he would do it again on stage as he introduced his second song.

But as the baritone boomed we learned of his early years in Leeton where he and his younger brother were beneficiaries of a participatory Uniting Church hymnal homage.

Crighton revealed that was before he and his brother headed north to the Hunter Valley and wrote his salient signature song 2,000 Clicks (to the Queensland border).

It was in the valley that Crighton, now 33, and his wife Julieanne, 30, combined their writing talents after meeting at Tamworth when he was 16 and she was just 13.

This William and “Juliet” meeting resulted in birth of two daughters and the tender love song Julieanne on his second album Empire.

Crighton blended his biographical singer-signpost anthem Riverina Kid, Jesus Blues , Fire In The Empire and others from his bluesy folk catalogue - songs I had not heard before this concert.

Although Crighton may have a low profile - his audience responded loudly even before headliner Lukas Nelson joined him for his finale.


“We made love for the first time in a hotel in San Francisco/ a night so perfect I try to forget about it now/ and Ray Charles is singing her name like rain on my window/ and I want to release her but I can't begin to know how/ so I say Ray, let me forget about Georgia/ because she'll never love me like I know a love's supposed to be/ I say Ray, let me forget about Georgia/ but a part of me hopes that she'll never forget about me.” - Forget About Georgia - Lukas Nelson and The Promise of The Real .

The arrival on stage of Lukas Nelson and hot band prompted another audience surge to frontal and wings vantage points.

It was well worth it.

This was an experience where the promise was the real deal from entree Come Live The Simple Life and other originals Living It Up and Four Letter Word that became an eight minute minuet of sorts.

The band also cut loose on their Jimi Hendrix cover Pali Gap/Hey Baby (New Rising Sun.)

Rising son may have been an apt description of Lukas Autry Nelson, now 30, who grew up on the not so mythical lost highway with brother Micah and famed dad Willie, now 86 and on the road again.

Lukas exuded droll humour in his lost love lament Fool Me Once and Something Real .

But his biggest crowd reaction was his introduction of his mass media parody that he introduced as “ Turn Off The Fucking News.”

It may have been timely as just due south of the Yarra in once gentrified Prahran a quartet of drive-by shooters was still being hunted after committing murder and mayhem outside the not so aptly named Love Machine night club.

Nelson's embryonic domicile of Austin , Texas , and Paia , Hawaii , and more recently Los Angeles seemed like idyllic paradises compared to the mean streets of Melbourne .

So Lukas sang of a more tranquil locale as he urged fans “turn off the news and build a garden/ just my neighborhood and me/ we might feel a bit less hardened/ we might feel a bit more free/ trust builds trust, and all that negativity's a bust/ trust builds trust, don't you wanna be happy?”

Los Angeles was where Lukas formed Promise Of The Real back in 2007 with Anthony LoGerfo (drums, percussion, vocals), Corey McCormick (bass guitar, vocals), Logan Metz (keyboards, lap steel, guitar, harmonica, vocals), and Tato Melgar (percussion).

And, of course, where they road tested and perfected their next tune - Long May You Run - as expat Canadian star Neil Young's backing and touring band.

That segued into the evocative biographical Just Outside Of Austin that was accompanied by a memorable video clip featured on Nu Country TV .

Lukas then introduced his dual Lady Gaga damsels The Wolfgramms - Melbourne sisters Talei and Eliza Wolfgramm - for his A Star Is Born hit, Shallow, in the absence of her majesty and Bradley Cooper.

It was more mellow than the band's bluesy belter Set Me Down On A Cloud and footloose treatment of Paul Simon's hit Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes.

Nelson excelled on another original love lament Out In L.A . and soulful rendition of late western swing king Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys classic Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer ) that was recorded several times by Willie who first toured here in 1981.

Equally accessible was another original ruptured romance requiem Forget About Georgia in which he name-checked the late Ray Charles but not his dad who also recorded its maternal source Georgia On My Mind.

Lukas recalled how during tours with his dad Georgia On My Mind was a nightly staple and echo of his Georgia in absentia.

Lukas's Georgia - the girl not just the song and video - also featured on Nu Country TV but not the inspirational Find Yourself that was propelled by the return of The Wolfgramms.

The Awakening , dating back to his 2010 Brando's Paradise Sessions EP, preceded the band's dynamic delivery of another Neil Young classic Rocking In The Free World with the re-appearance of support act Crighton on guitar and vocals.

The loose-fitting encore was a restrained version of Pearl Jam cover Just Breathe that was also on Shotgun Willie's 2012 album Heroes.

It may seem trite to say Lukas's animated guitar playing, inter-action with his A team band, and vocal and aerobic gymnastics are an act that will be hard to follow on the local scene this year.

But the visual imagery will be long embedded in the avid audience's memory banks.

A DVD of this Corner Hotel homage would be a timeless tableau of one of the fastest growing stars in our galaxy.

Meanwhile Shotgun Willie has a new CD Ride Me Back Home recorded with Buddy Cannon in his Luck studio set for release in June.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real setlist.

1 - Come Live the Simple Life

2 - Livin' It Up

3 - Four Letter Word

4 - Pali Gap / Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) (Jimi Hendrix cover)

5 - Fool Me Once

6 - Something Real

7 - Turn Off the News

8 - Long May You Run (The Stills–Young Band cover)

9 - Just Outside of Austin

10 – Shallow (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper cover) (with The Wolfgramms)

11 - Set Me Down on a Cloud

12 - Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes - (Paul Simon cover)

13 - Out in L.A.

14 - Stay a Little Longer (Bob Wills cover)

15 - Forget About Georgia

16 - Find Yourself (with The Wolfgramms)

17 - The Awakening

18 - Rockin' in the Free World (Neil Young cover) (with William Crighton)

19 - Encore: Just Breathe (Pearl Jam cover)

Review by David Dawson with photos By Carol Taylor

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