Live Review: Jimmy Barnes

11 July 2015 | 1:15 pm | Ted Dana

"The man can command a room. He took every punter in the room on a journey with him through his life and his passion."

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There’s nothing quite like seeing a True Blue Aussie Icon perform live, especially one that connects with his audience the way Jimmy Barnes does.

The Crown Theatre seemed like a strange choice for such an epic tour as Flesh & Wood, but it provided a much more intimate feeling than the Arena would have. Punters hadn’t been in their seats long when the first soulful chords began to resonate across from the stage. And as the sounds grew stronger a familiar figure in a black t-shirt and jeans confidently strode up to the mic and began crooning a gospel song Wade In The Water. When Jimmy had finished he made the first of his intimate jokes, yes it was a gospel song, and he actually sang it in fuckin’ church.

Jimmy made the most of the small breaks in between songs to share verbal snap shots of his past, and the influences that brought the songs he was sharing to life. Punters hung on every word as well, screaming and cheering at the opening of familiar hits like Hell Of A Time, Working Class Man and Khe Sahn. But what was really telling about his worth as an artist was that not only those who were obviously around when Bodyswerve first hit the record stores, but plenty of Gen-Y iPhone screens were glowing away recording their favourites. One autobiographical/joking moment was the intro to Stupid Heart where Jimmy shared that he wrote the song when Chris Bailey was still with The Saints. He intimated that the Punks didn’t like him much, and they didn’t get along all that well. Mainly because if they messed with him he’d “punch the fuck out of ‘em.”

Jimmy takes his rough-around-the-edges past and uses it to share his humour, but also his heart which he poured into each and every song while on stage. And not only did the audience feel such a strong connection to him as to his family — Jimmy’s wife Jane, son Jackie, and daughters Ellie-May and Elisa-Jane all sang duets with him as well as played/sung as part of the band. Suffice it to say, the man can command a room. He took every punter in the room on a journey with him through his life and his passion and joined them on those same journeys that they had when he was screaming at the world through the proxy of vinyl.

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