Live Review: Dan Sultan

27 April 2017 | 1:36 pm | Jennifer Sando

"If musicians could be Aussie landmarks, then Sultan, with a voice capable of carrying the heart and soul of Australia, should be one. "

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Adelaide's The Gov was the second stop after Perth on A Pop Up Evening with Dan Sultan. 

It was sold-out, seated, and we were pumped for whatever popped up in Sultan's show. He headed straight to the piano, prefacing the gig and warming the atmosphere with humorous banter: how he only knew three keys on the piano which was forgivable because "this isn't a real bloody tour anyway".

We all laughed in response, and we were easy to please, because one’s gotta love a down-to-earth muso who has no qualms with taking the piss out of himself.

Sultan faced us on his piano stool, sitting like he was saddled, and as he sang he lifted his knees in time as though it were helping the rhythm along. He apologised for his cough, saying that aeroplanes and hotel rooms had not helped it, but it did not impact the passionate crooning that followed.

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Magnetic was one of the highlights in the first set, and this intimate version was just as pulling as the studio finish. It was difficult to remain still while he played - throughout the audience, hips were grinding and shoulders were grooving.

As Sultan gave us some context for The Same Man, he was hit with a marriage proposal from somewhere in the crowd to which he replied that they were coming on too strong and it was suffocating him. Almost all of his chatting amounted to a joke, quite a contrast to the serious commitments he made with each of his songs.

In the second set, he ditched the piano for the guitar, and strummed his way through Dirty Ground and Under Your Skin. Judging from the very enthusiastic reactions from the ladies (and perhaps some similar reactions from the men internally) this was the side of Dan Sultan that they were hoping to hear and see.

No surprise that Kimberley Calling got the biggest reception, and then it became apparent that the two sets were like night and day, with the first set being a taste of the new record, and the second set designed to please us with the tracks that helped establish him as an Aussie favourite.

He returned to the piano for It Belongs To Us and ended the gig with Old Fitzroy. He thanked us especially "for showing up", and we were grateful for his humility. If musicians could be Aussie landmarks, then Sultan, with a voice capable of carrying the heart and soul of Australia, should be one.  

And then he almost hurried from the stage, as though if he vanished quick enough then we wouldn't notice (or maybe that it would lessen the blow) that the show had come to an end. But we noticed alright, because this pop-up evening was indeed a tantalising treat, albeit a fleeting, soulful tease, and it was safe to say that we all couldn't wait for him to grace an Adelaide stage again very, very soon.