May 29, 2019

Dirty Three @ Sydney Opera House

Spectacular. Transcendent. Incendiary. These words could describe Dirty Three at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday night, but honestly they still don't probably do justice to the magnificent show we witnessed. A true privilege and pleasure to be there. Dirty Three are an iconic trio formed in Melbourne close to thirty years ago. Their first album was self titled and this year marks the 25 year anniversary of that explosive album. As such it was a great idea to have the band perform the record in full as part of the 2019 Vivid Festival.

The album consists of 7 songs and lasts approximately 45 minutes but this performance took it to nearly double the length. Two reasons. Songs were elongated and expanded to great effect. Best example being the blockbuster opener in 'Indian Love Song'. This song tore the roof off. Powerful and ecstatic to dramatic effect. Then there is Warren Ellis, the talismanic lead man. A true Australian icon. A living national treasure. He takes time between songs to tell rambling stories that take strange paths and unique twists. He comes across as the crazy old uncle in your family. His stories are about life and death, drugs and love and everything in between. But he is much more than that. His violin work is unique and visionary. He cajoles his instrument to produce ungodly sounds. On 'Odd Couple' he even pulled out the piano accordion. But the Dirty Three are more than one man. Jim White is in my opinion the greatest drummer to have ever lived. He can do it all. He can be subtle and bombastic. His ability to draw out sounds is second to none. Then there is the bedrock in Mick Turner. A wonderful guitarist, I think his playing is quite possibly under rated if that is possible. Their night reached a peak in the classic 'Everything's Fucked'. A song that provokes emotional peaks to this day. When the album concluded you could see the band didn't want to stop. So we had the added pleasure of four songs from 'Horse Stories', an album I consider to be their best. What a way to conclude a night from a legendary Australian band.

Set List
Indian Love Song
Better Go Home Soon
Odd Couple
Kim's Dirt
Everything's Fucked
The Last Night
Dirty Equation
1000 Miles
Sue's Last Ride
I Remember a Time When You Used To Love Me


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