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Anchor 16

Richard Clapton

The Lonesome Voyager State Theatre, Saturday 15th August 2015

For those of you who were not fortunate enough to be present at the State Theatre on Saturday night to witness one of the country’s finest, if not best, singer songwriter perform his spectacular annual event, you missed Richard Clapton at his finest!

Since performing in 2008 at the State Theatre to celebrate his 35th anniversary of recording, Richard has returned each year to the same venue for his loyal fans. It has become a meeting place for fans from around the country who fly or drive to Sydney each year for this annual pilgrimage, and this year was no exception.

The atmosphere was one of excitement, since the absence of show in 2014, for whatever reason, the large crowd was looking forward to tonight’s gig even more! As 8pm approached, the crowds took their seats in eager anticipation. The stage was set!

Joining Richard tonight were musicians who have played and recorded on many of Richard’s albums. On guitar and backing vocals was Danny Spencer, who co-wrote many of the songs on Richard’s 2014 album Harlequin Nights. Danny will also be performing with Richard in the acoustic tour around the country. If you haven’t got tickets to see the show at Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul on Saturday 12th September, tickets are still available. The other members of the band tonight are Michael Barbara on keyboards, Johnny Salerno on drums, and on bass, Michael Hegarty. Yes!! The famous “Michael” mentioned in the first line of that timeless classic “Oh! Michael, all the lines are down, it's Australia Day again….” from "The Best Years of Our Lives". Performing harmony and backing vocals were two of

Australia’s best known and loved singers, Natasha Stuart and the one and only Vika Bull. With this line up of huge talent we knew were going to witness one very special night of music.

Richard and Danny walked on stage, to thunderous applause from the crowd, and so began the acoustic set of the night. The night commenced, appropriately, with the song for which Richard named his tour, “Lonesome Voyager”. The songs kept on coming, with “Blue Bay Blues”, “Walk on Water” and “Run like a River”. The next song, "High Society" I had never heard played with just vocals and backing guitar. I loved the original version, the Reggae version with full band, and now this acoustic reggae version with just Richard singing and Danny accompanying him on guitar was something else, just amazing! The final song of the acoustic set was “Capricorn Dancer”, after which Richard and Danny left the stage for a short intermission. That was the calm… the storm was about to follow!

Richard started the second part of the show with the title song off his 1984 album Solidarity. The hits kept coming, with “Suit Yourself” from the Mainstream Jive album released in 1976. The set list was a good selection of songs from Richard’s catalog of albums. From Girls on the Avenue, released in 1975, the title song and “Blue Bay Blues”, to “Ace of Hearts” and “Thorn in my Saddle” from Heartache on the Nightline from 1979. The packed house was thoroughly enjoying the trip through Richard’s vast discography of songs spanning 5 decades. Other songs included “Get Back to the Shelter” and “High Society” from the 1980 album Dark Spaces. In fact there were songs from almost every album, from the first, Girls on the Avenue released in 1979, through to Harlequin Nights from 2014.

As the performance came to an end, the fans were not ready to go home just yet! The entire theatre were united in applause and chanting “Richard, Richard….”, and as he and the band returned to the stage the applause was deafening. To the audience’s delight Richard went on to perform “The Best Years of Our Lives” and “Girls on the Avenue”. Again leaving stage, the crowd yelled for more. The cheers, clapping and chanting did not subside. Yet again, Richard acknowledged the audience and returned for another encore! This time is was “Goodbye Tiger” and it went down well! The last song of this chapter of “The party that never ends” was a great rendition of the Rolling Stones hit “Gimme Shelter”.

To say that the night was a huge hit would be an understatement. For those of us who still want more, Richard will be performing his Lonesome Voyager show at the following venues:

Anitas Theatre, Thirroul on Saturday 12th September

Laycock Theatre, Gosford on Sunday 13th September

The J, Noosa on Friday 18th September

Fairfax Studio Arts Centre, Melbourne on Sunday 11th October and

The Tivoli, Fortitude Valley QLD on Saturday 31st October

If you are close to any of these venues, do yourself a huge favour and buy tickets, you won’t regret it!

Vlad Pocuca

see more photos here

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