The West

Review: Washington
Megan Washington. Picture: Duncan Barnes

Friday, November 16 Live at the Quarry

The chilled-out vibe and intimate feel of the Quarry Amphitheatre was really the only way to experience the quirky charm of Brisbane’s Megan Washington.

Deckchairs lined the amphitheatre steps and eskies full of wine, beer and the other cool drinks littered the lush green lawn.

As the sun set, Perth band the Chemist’s Ben Witt provided the perfect backdrop while punters slowly filed into the amphitheatre.

Witt started off very slowly, showcasing his electric-guitar skills and powerful voice to a chatty audience, but gained confidence with every swig of beer as his set neared its end.

Washington strutted her way on to the stage and sat down at her piano, each piece of equipment decorated with beautiful red roses; even her hair was full of them.

Opening with Swallows, she didn’t even need an introduction. The stunning voice she so easily used spoke wonders.

Her way of sliding into notes was mesmerising; each song effortless but completely heartfelt.

Sunday Best was enjoyed but was surprisingly played early on in her set, which was divided into three parts separated by short intermissions and jazz music over the PA. Her storytelling before each song made the show feel unique, talking about everything from singing a New York man she met at a bar to sleep to Bokito the gorilla, who escaped from a Dutch zoo in 2007.

At times the performance became a duet with the chirpy crickets, which seemed to like her voice so much that they just wanted to join in with her and the piano.

Washington’s ability to slide easily into notes was shown off in How to Tame Lions, which marked the end of her hits for the night.

The introduction of a string section in the second part of the show filled the quarry with sound, bouncing off the rock walls.

Covers like Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, Tom Waits’ Picture in a Frame and Rufus Wainwright’s The Want stunned the audience into complete silence and you had no choice but to stop whatever you were doing and watch.

Ending her set with Paul Kelly’s Meet Me in the Middle of the Air, she waved to a grateful audience and prolonged cheers.

Those who decided to stick around after the show were treated to a meet-and-greet with the lady herself, where she let slip that the only reason she played Hallelujah was because she’d had a dream about it the night before. In fact, it was her first time playing it. You would never have known; she was perfect.

The West Australian

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