Live Review: Missy Higgins, Dustin Tebbutt, Jherek Bischoff

3 November 2014 | 2:22 pm | Cassandra Fumi

Missy Higgins shared both music and stories, much to the delight of the Melbourne audience at Regent Theatre.

More Missy Higgins More Missy Higgins

Tonight we are greeted by the lush stylings of Jherek Bischoff who effortlessly picks his ukulele strings, backed by a sublime string quartet.

He plays off the quartet, evoking images of the cherubs in Fantasia. A heavily pregnant Missy Higgins casually joins Bischoff, lending her vocals to one of his arrangements. We love it! It’s very obvious Higgins and Bischoff have some serious musical tête-à-tête going on at the moment, as Bischoff also co-produced Oz.

Dustin Tebbutt assumes the stage, with beautiful reverb-soaked, vocal melodies. The Breach washes over us, providing a meditative calm that only few musicians can conjure. Tebbutt’s skilful use of looping pedals results in an intense building of emotion as each song progresses.

Missy Higgins opens with a cover of Slim Dusty’s The Biggest Disappointment (from Oz). She casually plays ukulele, gently resting it on her pregnant belly. Higgins looks beautiful in a figure-hugging royal blue dress and seems incredibly relaxed and comfortable. She candidly rambles that her old songs are “golden oldies”, and they are. Nostalgia rules at a Higgins concert. We revel in her iconic songs. Before Ten Days, we’re given its back story: a teenage Higgins pining for a lover back home while in LA – the song was even sent to said lover on cassette. Bischoff is back on bass for Higgins’ set, the extremely characteristic yank also conducting a string quartet in his arrangement of Higgins’ Secret. It’s like hearing the song for the first time.

Leading into Everyone’s Waiting, Higgins talks about her departure from and subsequent return to the music industry. She shares that she did all the ‘normal’ things to try and find herself without music, like travelling to India and doing ayahuasca in South America. Well, the ayahuasca one is probably a bit out there (she corrects herself).

Tonight is about music and stories, and stories that become music and music that comes from stories – just like Oz, which has an accompanying book with a chapter dedicated to each song. Higgins’ version of The Drones’ Shark Fin Blues is a standout, as is Don Walker’s The Way You Are Tonight, during which Higgins is accompanied by her musically skilled big bro Dave.

The spectrum of ages in attendance at a Higgins concert is always notable and unique. Children tell mothers not to dance, lovers kiss and friends laugh hysterically. We have grown as she has. As we walk down the Cinderella steps at Regent Theatre, we wish we could leave a glass slipper to return for.