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Gig Review: Chris Isaak, Palais Theatre, Melbourne 16 April 2024

Wow. Chris Isaak! One of the last true performers that is not afraid to get amongst his adoring fans and last night just proved why he has been a staple in the music industry for so long. One of the great live acts, treating concert goers to an unique experience of getting up close and personal, even if you are sitting in the rafters of the Palais Theatre.

Last night saw Isaak perform a huge 24 songs to fans that had been waiting since 2016, to see this legendary performer return to Australian shores. And like normal, he did not disappoint.

(C) Kylie Sahb Photography

Starting the night, Bobby Lee Stamper commanded the audience with his soulful acoustic set comprising of songs from his latest album as well winning the crowd with a Bruce Springsteen number and even claiming that he ‘just wrote that one’ with a giggle. Stamper’s gravely voice and wit certainly won the crowd over.

With applause and whistles, Isaac sauntered on stage with his faithful band members Drummer Kenney Johnson, bassist Roly Salley, guitarist Hershel Yatovitz and keyboard player Timothy Drury. Starting his huge set with American Boy and quickly followed with Somebody’s Crying from his Forever Blue Album. Then Isaak proceeded to walk through the crowd, sit down, take selfies all whilst singing Here I Stand and Dont Leave Me On My Own. Even managing to climb the stairs to levels two and three, stretching his lungs to capacity, and offering the twins in the audience on the third tier a dance later.

(C) Kylie Sahb Photography

Coming back to earth, saw Isaak belt out fan favourite Wicked Game and continue to relive songs from his huge back catalogue. Whilst it felt I was on a cruise ship at times with the amount of Boomers in the audience and the kitschy moves and jokes on stage, it as a cruise liner I was happy to board. In retrospective, its hard to believe that Wicked Game came out in 1989 at Isaak’s peak and I was there to witness it all. So maybe I deserved the ticket to the liner.

Paying tribute to the greats as Isaak does, saw him nod to the likes of Roy Orbison, Elvis and Charlie Feathers. With having such a catalogue as Isaak does, its no wonder his set list was so long. Encoring with Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing, You Dont Cry Like I Do and finally The Way Things Really Are, ended a great night of entertainment with the above said twins (plus some) on stage dancing to his final tunes. Isaak has an ability to effortlessly entertain, with this countertenor vocals, his musicianship and capturing his audience with his delicious wit, sees him as one of Australia’s favourite touring artist and is also welcomed back with a soothing hug of us Aussie fans.

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