The Whitlams and WASO
Perth Concert Hall
Friday August 30
Review: Melissa Leo
“It’s been too long,” was the greeting shouted by one audience member as the Whitlams returned to the Perth Concert Hall stage, accompanied by the WA Symphony Orchestra, for the first time in six years.
With half the orchestra patiently waiting behind him, Tim Freedman opened the show solo on the keyboard. The cheers that escorted his entrance fell silent as his distinct voice filled the auditorium with one of his Australian Idle tracks, Don’t Be Proud.
The energy picked up as Freedman was joined by his band mates, first guitarist Jak Housden, then drummer Terepai Richmond and bassist Warwick Hornby. The Whitlams don’t need to coordinate their clothes to look like a band; their mismatched style fit together as perfectly as their sound.
Talented Australian conductor Benjamin Northey led WASO with ease. The orchestral arrangements gave The Whitlams’ songs even more impact.
In the first half of the set, the crowd erupted in cheers during the opening tune of fan favourite, No Aphrodisiac.
But every song was played with equal importance. The heavenly sound of the harp, played by Bronwyn Wallis, added something special to Keep the Light On.
The second half of the show was performed with a full symphony. And another hit, Blow up The Pokies, received the loudest cheers. But feet tapped and heads bopped the most during You Sound Like Louis Burdett.
With each song telling a story, no extra words were needed. But Freedman's brief and witty introductions added as much laughter as applause to the concert.
And when a technical failure meant the keyboard chords needed to be rejigged before the music could resume, Freedman took the opportunity to show just how funny he could be.
You know it has been a great night when an unexpected delay is as entertaining as the rehearsed show.
As expected there was a brief encore performance at the end of the night. But when the band and Northey again walked off stage, the audience was left wanting more.
They stamped their feet, whistling and calling for a second encore. There was a uniformed sigh as members of WASO put down their instruments and the lights switched on. The crowd finally accepted that The Whitlams would not be retuning again that night.But after a near perfect concert, I would be surprised if anyone was left disappointed.