SK and SUSO

23 09 2013

I have been asked to write a review of Saturday night’s performance by Steve Kilbey and the Sydney University Symphoney Orchestra. So here it is:

The venue selected for Saturday’s performance was only appropriate for such a show. The architecture of the Great Hall at Sydney University was to take a trip to a place that a lot of will have seen in movies, but may never have been to for ourselves. There were stain-glass windows (“you should’ve seen them during the day”, lighting man Trevor said), a tall ceiling, busts made out of sandstone, marble statues, angels in the woodwork and an awe inspiring organ above your head as you enter the hall. If Harry Potter had gone to school in Sydney, this is where he would’ve come.

The show, as a concept, was really enjoyable; an orchestra, just under 80 piece big, conducted by George Ellis, playing reinterpretations of songs by Steve Kilbey. All the orchestral arrangements (barring ‘Tear It All Away’) were done by Ellis and included the likes of ‘Grind’, ‘Myrrh’, ‘Everyone’ and (unsurprisingly) ‘Under The Milky Way’, with ‘Space Saviour’ as the encore.

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The orchestra entered the stage via a doorway at the back, as did George after a warm welcome from presenter Scott Bevan. So naturally then, you’d be expecting Steve to make a similar entrance, right? I know I was, which is why it was good to see Steve walking down the aisle of the hall to take his place on stage.

After more than 30 years of performing to live audiences, I don’t know if Steve still gets nervous before or during shows, but for the first half of the night, he didn’t appear comfortable up on stage, he seemed a bit unsettled about something; at least that was the vibe sitting in the front row.

SK (l), George Ellis (c) and guest vocalist Lisa Gibbs (r)

SK (l), George Ellis (c) and guest vocalist Lisa Gibbs (r)

It would be interesting to know what was going through Steve’s mind when he wasn’t singing though, as he didn’t have his bass with him, he didn’t have much room to move. Wearing a suit would’ve made any kind of interpretive dance hard to pull off too, and as a result, Steve just stood there kind of awkwardly and at over times very stiffly. After the intermission though, Steve seemed more relaxed and it was just a shame that the night was over before you knew it.

Due to advertising restrictions in place by Sydney University, the crowd wasn’t large as it could’ve, and should’ve, been, which was the biggest let down of the night. But those who did turn up were treated to a unique show that will not be forgotten any time soon.

*Pictures courtesy of Sharon Daniels

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