Live Review: Bernard Fanning, Dustin Tebbutt, Ainslie Wills

2 November 2016 | 4:14 pm | Charmaine de Souza

"A collective hush spread throughout the crowd as they watched on."

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The weather gods weren't the kindest to Perthians on Saturday night, a chilly Fremantle Arts Centre serving as the backdrop for Bernard Fanning's Civil Dusk Tour.

Ainslie Wills welcomed rugged-up punters into the venue, her hauntingly delicate vocals impossible to ignore.

Up next, Dustin Tebbutt took to the stage, armed with an acoustic guitar and keyboard. The New England local's chilled-out tunes spread mellow vibes throughout the crowd.

Bernard Fanning arrived on stage earlier than expected - a huge relief for those in the crowd desperately attempting to thaw out. "Nice balmy summer evening here in Fremantle," Fanning said cheekily. The former Powderfinger frontman took a moment to admire his surroundings, remarking that he'd played this very same venue a decade ago for his debut solo album, Tea & Sympathy. Before long, the man launched into the first song of the night, Emerald Flame; a shadowy figure bathed in a (fittingly) emerald spotlight. A collective hush spread throughout the crowd as they watched on, soaking up every minute of his performance.

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Fanning's band, The Black Fins, were quick to join him on stage for the remainder of the night, supplying beautiful harmonies during songs like Departures (Blue Toowong Skies) that soothed many a soul. Shortly after, the twangy goodness of Hope And Validation lifted spirits, with fans swaying their heads along to the beat.

The night swayed back and forth between past and present, Fanning not shying away from old favourites. "What's that mate?" Fanning asked an unknown audience member. "Did you say Songbird?" What followed was a mad dash to the smart phone and a mass singalong - rounding the song off with a seriously impressive fiddle solo.

Before the night was over, Fanning expressed his sincerest gratitude for the "shitload" of people that always show up at WA shows. After tonight it's abundantly clear that Perth will always be here for Fanning - rain or shine.