Known for his playful lyrics and young persona, Bob Evans seemed a little more grown up at the Gold Coast leg of his Welcome Stranger Tour at the Soundlounge on Friday 13 September.
Despite the date, there was nothing spooky about this gig, in fact, the independently booked tour run solely by Evans himself was intimate, warm and friendly. With a small, but humble audience of dedicated fans, this was the perfect way to end the week.
The show was delicately opened by local acoustic act The Altais which consists of a softly spoken young male and female couple who were clearly relishing the opportunity to support Evans. Their simple and sweet acoustic tunes, often sung in unison, were the perfect start to the night and warmly accepted by Bob’s Gold Coast audience.
After a small break (compared to gigs with long wait times in between acts), Bob Evans graced the stage alone, with his guitar. Starting off with a mix of old and new songs, Evans was quick to realise that he had forgotten to turn on his trademark guitar lights and joked about how often this happens despite being an important feature at his solo shows.
Considering his experience and resume of performances, Evans seemed to be off to a flat start, losing the interest of the majority of the audience. However, after receiving a glass of red purchased and delivered by a die-hard (and extremely vocal) fan, the energy picked up, as did the audience’s attention. Evans made well-timed and continuous jokes directly before playing newer material from his latest album Familiar Stranger, saying that he knew everyone was really there to hear his older repertoire. This however, didn’t stop him and the newer numbers including his latest single Don’t Wanna Grow Up Anymore were well received.
Experimenting with a growing trend that seems to be adopted by a lot of touring artists of late, Evans jumped down into the audience to perform an unplugged version of his song Don’t You Think It’s Time. Evans managed to hush the rather chatty audience down to an intimate silence, and it wasn’t long before audience members were softly singing along.
After jokingly orchestrating and planning his own encore with the audience, claiming it makes it less awkward for everyone, Evans finished up with 6 songs, including a tune that he hinted would be released on an upcoming album next year.
It’s clear that after the birth of his daughter earlier this year, Bob Evans is a little more mature and a lot wiser. Running the merch desk himself after each gig, it was great to shake his hand, and hear about his initiative of donating excess merch change from gigs to the homeless of each city he visits. If you get a chance to catch one of the remaining shows of this tour, I highly recommend it.