Iconic Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly signed off his popular 1987 hit 'Leaps and Bounds' with "I remember everything", and at his landmark Bathurst gig on Thursday night, the music legend certainly recalled plenty of his classic accomplishments in front of a sold-out crowd.
After opening the set with the aptly titled latter-day hit 'Finally Something Good' [as there hasn't been much good go the way of live music lately], Kelly led his band, and the audience, on a two-hour journey through his incredible discography, from early hits to modern stories.
One song in, he acknowledged the Wiradyuri land on which Bathurst sits, before leaping into two of his best-known classics: 'Before Too Long' and 'Careless'.
There were love songs ['When I First Met Your Ma'], songs about Australian identity ['From St Kilda to Kings Cross', 'From Little Things Big Things Grow'] and even tunes as simple as being "about a man getting in a vehicle, driving, and getting out again" ['Love Never Runs on Time'].
Kelly also made sure to acknowledge current affairs, with new song 'Northern Rivers' paying tribute to those battling floods on the NSW North Coast, and through ending the Melbourne love letter 'Leaps and Bounds' with "I remember the leg-spin, the googly, the wrong-un, the 708 Test wickets" in honour of the late Shane Warne, one of three cricketers Kelly has written a song about.
As an adopted son of Melbourne, Kelly made plenty of references to his love of Australian rules football, affectionally calling his band "the team" and saying "the first half has seen plenty of action, but there's plenty more action to come."
But that's the beauty of such a versatile artist like Paul Kelly. His music unites so many Australians: the sports fans, the bush poets, those seeking to learn more about Australia and simply people who enjoy a good live concert.
That unique cross-section of Kelly fans were certainly on display at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, and by all accounts, his gig was worth the wait.
The United States has Bob Dylan, Great Britain has Billy Bragg, and we have Paul Kelly: the quintessential Australian storyteller.
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