Live Review + Gallery: Bernard Fanning + Dustin Tebbett + Ainslie Wells, The Arts Centre Gold Coast, 18 October 2016

Having grown up as many of us have with Powderfinger blasting through the stereo, I should mention from the outset that I put the Fan(girl) into Fanning. In fact the last time I saw Bernard I was drunk AF at Splendour and ran away from my friends to go watch him. At the tent I somehow managed to push myself to the front of the crowd and screamed “I love you Bernard” over and over whilst crying hysterically like I was a teenager at a 5SOS concert. The bar, clearly, has been set as I eagerly awaited the first night of his Civil Dusk tour at The Arts Centre Gold Coast.

With his band The Black Fins supporting him, Fanning showcased their collective talents going between ballad, rock and country.  Sally Campbell on the fiddle was a highlight of the show as her arms moved at lightning speed through songs such as Flesh and Blood, captivating the audience.

As every song swelled there was a feeling of intimacy that fell across the venue, as though we were watching a backyard jam session between friends. With the finish of each song the magic would break and we are returned to the Arts Centre, with Bernard cracking jokes and taking on the errant heckler with humour and class. (Meanwhile who pays money to go to a gig and heckle the artist?). Each song had the crowd mesmerised from the haunting Watch Over Me, the increasingly fast and furious Wasting Time and crowd pleasers Songbird and Wish You Well. A special treat came in the form of Powderfinger song Save The Wildest Stretch that Fanning played alone acoustically, informing the crowd that this was the way he would present the songs he wrote to the band for their approval.

Not only were the heart strings tugged by many of his songs, but the nostalgia that came with him reminiscing about the crochet topped wearing Joanne who stole his heart as a youth at Nobbys Outlook, to the many now gone, but not forgotten music venues including The Playroom, which drew a big reaction from the crowd who no doubt revelled in the memories.

Going a generous hour over his predicted playing time, Fanning truly entertained the crowd and left us on cloud nine long after the show had ended. With most of his tour having sold out, you may be lucky enough to snag a ticket at one of his rural shows, but for this lucky punter, I’ll be seeing him again when he goes home to Brisbane in November. I’ll make sure to keep the hysterical fangirling to a reasonable level.

IMAGES (C) Sam Gilmore Photography

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