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REVIEW: JIMMY BARNES SOUL DEEP 30 TOUR – MELBOURNE

Jimmy Barnes, The Teskey Brothers, Mahalia Barnes and The Soul Mates, Karen Lee Andrews – Rod Laver Arena Melbourne
Review: Colette Imi. Photos: Jason Roserwarne

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of his 10 x Platinum Album ‘Soul Deep’, Jimmy Barnes kicked off his Soul Deep 30 Tour with his 12 piece band in Adelaide on Thursday 16 June. Remastered, ‘Soul Deep 30’ was released the following day on 17 June, including three new recordings, Sam and Dave’s ‘Soothe Me’, The Contours  ‘Do you Love Me’ (sung together with Josh Teskey) and Motown hit by The Supremes Reflections (featuring old Chisel band mate Ian Moss).

Melbourne showed up in droves on a brisk Saturday night, filling  Rod Laver Arena for a huge night of timeless 60’s RnB, Soul and Motown Hits. The evening started off with opening act Ms Murphy, a.k.a Karen Lee Andrew’s (Finalist Season 2 – The Voice and Eastman guitar endorsee), who featured throughout the evening as a back up vocalist.

In a family affair, daughter Mahalia Barnes and her band the Soul Mates, brought the energy up a notch featuring Mahalia’s powerhouse vocals. The Soul Mates were an instrumental spectacular too, with the Doley brothers (Clayton and Lachlan) on keys. Lachlan Doley impressed the crowd, passionately giving his Whammy Clavinet a beating, and Franco Raggatt pulling out some amazing guitar solos. Reminiscing about the last time she performed at Rod Laver Arena, Mahalia introduced her husband Ben Rodgers who penned a song called ‘Little Light’ for their daughter Ruby.  Some may recall Mahalia performing this heartwarming track at the late great Michael Gudinski’s memorial last year.

Having recently cancelled The Teskey Brothers North American tour due to vocal concerns, lead vocalist Josh Teskey drew deep into his reserves and delivered some smokey Sam Cooke tones tonight. Acknowledging that he was weary of his voice, he neverthelesss belted out a beautiful a cappella section on ‘I Get Up’, written by Josh and Bass Guitarist Brendon Love (Half Mile Harvest album).

A notably absent Sam Teskey, was replaced by guitarist Neil Wilkinson, whose solo on Run Home Slow track ‘Paint My Heart’ gathered a huge round of applause. With the arena clapping in the intro, The Teskey Brothers ended their set with ‘Louisa’, which found many up and dancing, warming themselves up for the main act.

A far cry from his Cold Chisel days sartorially, a dapper Jimmy Barnes took to the stage with his 12 piece band, finding the crowd already up on their feet and cheering loudly. Everything about this performance was all class. The stage draped in thick curtains, with the brass ensemble and glittery back up singers standing on a raised backing platform. The Doley brothers in either side of the stage, with Clayton on the Hammond Organ and Lachlan on piano.

Jimmy was also joined by son Jackie Barnes on drums, and daughter Mahalia returning to the stage on back up vocals, joined by Karen Lee Andrew’s and RnB songstress Jade MacRae. Danny Spenser also featured on guitar.

Jimmy was Gold Standard from the second he walked on stage, offering the audience over 27 songs, starting off with his cover of Sam and Dave’s ‘Hold on I’m Coming’. Jimmy truly went Soul Deep, explaining that the album is full of tracks by his favourite artists. From Jackie Wilson’s ‘(Your love keeps lifting me) Higher and Higher’, to Jimmy Ruffin’s ‘What becomes of the Broken-hearted’, to the other Jimmy… Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Many Rivers to Cross’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘Ain’t no Mountain High Enough’. It was Wilson Pickett that had an obvious impact, inspiring many covers such as ‘I found a Love’, ‘Mustang Sally’, ‘In the Midnight Hour’, ‘634 -5789’ and the crowd pleaser ‘Land of 1000 Dances’.

Barnsey was joined on stage by some stand out artists, welcoming Josh Teskey back to the stage with The Contours ‘Do you love me’. Michael Paynter (Icehouse) was introduced as a ‘new’ band member. Guitarist and vocalist Paynter sang and played on the new track ‘Soothe Me’ together with Barnes. Jade MacRae’s impressive vocals shone through on ‘Something is wrong with my Baby’, which also featured an amazing guitar solo by Danny Spencer. Jade later joined Mahalia and Karen Lee Andrew’s donning 60’s styled wigs, whilst performing Ike and Tina Turners ‘A fool in love’.

Ending the main part of show with the classic ‘River Deep Mountain High’, the crowd knew Barnes would return with an encore. ‘Stagger Lee’ followed before the Queen Of Souls’ (Franklin’s) ‘Chain of Fools’. Jimmy then shared a story about his love for Daddy Cool, and how he used to carry their gear from show to show, just to be guaranteed entry to their shows. He then continued on by welcoming the esteemed and also legendary Ross Wilson (Daddy Cool) onto the stage, to perform ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’.  Ross belted out this tune with Barnes, whilst taking to the Harmonica, with Jimmy’s wife Jane joining in on backing vocals.

With proceeds from the album sales on the night going to Food Bank. It was a night of non-stop entertainment, featuring classic hit after hit and proof that Jimmy Barnes is without a  doubt, one of Australia’s greatest entertainers.