As the sun set on Sirromet Winery, providing relief from the heat of the day, the blinding rock riffs of opening act Russell Morris warmed the crowd up for another Aussie legend, Daryl Braithwaite. Sporting his trademark roadie style black tee and jeans – a far cry from the flamboyant days of the threads he wore as frontman for Sherbet – the band joked with late arrivals in the crowd as they played ‘The Horses’ first. Braithwaite performed all his hits including ‘Summer Love’ and ‘Howzat’ from the Sherbet Days and naturally finished off with an extended mix of ‘The Horses’ much to the delight of most of the crowd.
From his opening song Peter Murray was pumped for this gig. He was joined onstage by headline act Rob Thomas as they encouraged the crowd in a sing-along to ‘Better Days’, then Thomas’ saxophonist joined him on ‘Always a Winner’, a big winner with the crowd.
The Rural Fire Service were busy in between sets walking through the crowd shaking the bucket raising money for bushfire affected areas. Hands were in pockets and buckets were full before Daryl’s set finished, with music lovers’ incredible generosity on full display.
Taking to the stage wearing an Aboriginal Flag T-shirt, Rob Thomas opened with the track ‘I Love It’ from his new album ‘Chip Tooth Smile’. While Rob Thomas was being honest with himself and his Sirromet fans about the reality of still being able to party like a rock star but not recover like a rock star, his energy on stage left no doubt about his musical stamina. Thomas led the crowd on a two hour set of songs. The set featured a balanced setlist of new tracks, solo hits, Matchbox Twenty selections and a cover of David Bowies ‘Let’s Dance’. Thomas reminded us that we’d all made a pretty big effort to be here tonight, as had they, coming all the way from America so we’d better be ready to be in the moment and have a good time. This prompted a classic Australian response from a nearby reveller who severely reprimanded her mate with a “listen to Rob and get off your f#*king phone”.
Thomas eight-piece band were electric. It was a pretty funky performance and Thomas has got some moves. There was a cool moment with the bass guitarist Al aka ‘The Black Panther’ who really did add weight to the argument that the bass, when played as he did, is the sexiest of all instruments. The ‘Menagerie of Bad Assery’ as Thomas affectionately referred to his back up vocalists was also sassy and captivating. Thomas soaked in sweat left the stage briefly to give his band room to jam, and jam they did.
It wasn’t all funk and sing-a-long; the quieter moments were also captivating. Thomas sat down at the piano and touched hearts on ‘Early In The Morning’ and ‘Pieces’. Thomas also played a stripped back dreamy version of ‘3 AM’ the first song that he ever wrote that he actually liked.
Thomas closed off the night with ‘This is How A Heart Breaks’ and a cool version of ‘Smooth” the hit song he wrote twenty years ago with Carlos Santana. Thomas reflected on what Carlos reminds of him of every day – to show Gratitude. I believe I can speak for everyone in attendance at Sirromet that we were all most certainly grateful to be listening to such great music.
Header Image of Rob Thomas (C) Sonia Bettinelli
Gallery Images (C) Buddsy Media