26 March 2013 (gig)
29 March 2013
Californian rocker Chris Isaak pulled out all the stops at his Melbourne show on Tuesday night. The “Beyond the Sun Tour” opened with “American Boy” at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl as Isaak dashed through the aisles.
A true showman, the youthful 56-year-old Isaak has the energy of a man half his age. Without breaking a sweat, Isaak danced around in his black rhinestone suit whilst keeping in perfect tune.
Isaak grew up listening to Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Roy Orbison, who were all discovered by the late Sam Phillips. As a consequence, he brought to the stage the glory of the 50's and 60's, paying tribute to the Sun Record's legends by performing “Cant Help Falling in Love”, “Ring of Fire”, and other such classics.
Crowd favorites were “Wicked Game”, “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing”, and “Somebody's Crying”. At a quick glance, I noted the audience was predominantly “baby boomers”, with a sprinkling of Gen X and Y. It's clear that Isaak's sultry unwavering voice appeals to all generations.
Throughout the evening, Isaak happily interacted with the audience and at one juncture invited three women on stage to dance with his bass player Rowland Salley. Although the venue doesn’t allow flash photography, Isaak commented that he noticed patrons photographing him anyways and jokingly encouraged them to continue, alluding that the band wears outrageous attire to have their picture taken.
The band’s ease on stage is clearly visible and I gather after performing together for 28 years, they know one another’s idiosyncrasies. They are consistently in sync and flow into playful banter between songs. The key band members of Silvertone, (name of Chris's first guitar) includes: Kenney Dale Johnson (drums), Rowland Salley (bass), Hershel Yatovitz (guitar), and newer additions Scott Plunkett (Keyboard), and Rafael Padilla (Percussion).
Kasey Chambers, whom opened for Isaak in Melbourne, played alongside her father Bill Chambers. “Not Pretty Enough”, an Australia #1 smash-hit in 2002, was performed beautifully and well received. Joined by Sam Hookey on the banjo, “Million Tears” was another favourite.
The show closed with an encore performance of “Pretty Woman”, an enormous two-storey blow-up doll, and Isaak dressed in a suit reminiscent of a disco ball. Although the tribute performances were faultless, I would have enjoyed seeing a few more Isaak originals. Other than that, it was an exemplary performance all-round.