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Jour 206, Ian : "Beaucoup d'amour dans la salle"... un concert de ROBERT FORSTER à Melbourne

Publié le 20 octobre 2008 par Oagd
Visuel: Thibault Balahy, à partir d'une vidéo récente de Robert Forster. Texte : Ian Darby, professeur de biologie à l'université de Melbourne. Ce concert a eu lieu le 8 août 2008. I recently had the pleasure of seeing Robert Forster playing at a small club in Melbourne, touring to promote The Evangelist album. I must admit that if you had asked me a few years ago, which single Go-Between I would like to see live, I would have replied without hesitation Grant McLennan. However, since that option is no longer available I was quick to buy tickets to Robert's concert which was sold out for three nights in Melbourne (albeit in a small venue). The Go-Betweens lived for a short period in Melbourne and I saw them first when I was a young University student, playing in the café at my University on a student union night. I didn't know their music particularly well, but as I poked my head in the door to see who was playing, they were performing Cattle and Cane and not surprisingly I thought that this was rather special. Since then I don't suppose a week goes by where I don't play something of theirs at home or in the car and my six year old daughter Isabel gets in the car each time (in fact since she was about 2) and says « music, Grant & Robert ». Anyway, 25 years later we are off to see Robert alone.  The Toff in Town is a small club, upstairs and it was a freezing (for Melbourne !) winter's night. While we were negotiating our entrance, Robert appeared behind us in a suit and scarf, greeting the people who were entering the club. Quite soon after, he appeared on stage, alone and with an acoustic guitar and played some old songs, Love is a Sign, Something for Myself, before being joined by Adele Pickvance (the bassist from the last three Go-Betweens albums) for If it Rains. Then Glenn Thompson (now on guitar) and the new drummer Matthew (a 21 year old son of a friend of Robert's) arrived on stage. The whole band played a beautiful version of Demon Days - better than the recorded version, with some soft jazzy drumming. The band sounded terrific and it was a real treat to hear songs that I had suspected I would never hear live again, Head Full of Steam, Spring Rain and Clouds amongst them. I certainly fell in love with these songs all over again. There aren't many better songs about l'amour fou than Head Full of Steam, nor about late adolescence than Spring Rain. Robert is a very amusing raconteur and it is apparent why he managed to win a prize for journalism recently. He prefaced When She Sang about Angels (a song about Patti Smith) with a long and self-effacing story about trying to get into a secret gig of Patti Smith's in London. The other comical note that he struck was to forget the lyrics of Darlinghurst Nights : he sang « gut rot cappuccino... » and then forgot what comes next. Then he leaned down to the front row audience members who filled him in on the next lines before restarting the verse. It was really a great celebration of nearly thirty years of Go-Betweens and Robert Forster music, and there was a lot of love in the room. Not least when the band played Grant's song from 16LL, Quiet Heart. I never thought I'd hear that one played live again, and it was obviously Robert's tribute to Grant without having to say as much « How I'll miss your quiet, quiet heart ».  Particularly poignant as it was the only pure Grant song played on the evening. Robert also played the « ballad of the Go-Betweens », Too Much of One Thing, music written by Grant but with words by Robert. The audience was very appreciative and Robert played three encores. He didn't sing Dive for Your Memory, but as a journalist in London reviewing his recent concert there remarked, singing « deep down I'm lonely and I miss my friend » might have been too much for everyone. So, it was a great night and I guess an unexpected pleasure in some ways. I thought we would hear the new album - the Evangelist and some of Robert's solo back catalogue - and instead we got a partial Go-Betweens retrospective (largely minus the McLennan songs). Si vous souhaitez écrire à Ian dans la section "commentaires", vous pouvez également le faire en Français, qu'il comprend.

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