I have been to a lot of live shows in my time, from the big names down to the unknowns, from the hottest things around to the hasbeens. I’ve seen every type of show in every type of venue. So it still excites me when I see someone I haven’t seen before who puts on an amazing night of music!
This is what happened when I saw Chris Isaak live a couple of weeks ago. You may know the man more as a 90s hitmaker, but he actually started in the 80s (and you know me – if they released one song in the 80s I’ll claim them for the decade!). The show was held at Trak, a lounge bar in Toorak, Melbourne. It was a smallish, intimate venue, perfect for the type of concert it was. My friend Silv and I managed to nab spots right at the front, one person back from the stage (yay for general admission!).
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from Mr Isaak. I’d loved all his well-known songs back when I was younger, but I suspected there’d be more to it than just those. And I was right. The hits (Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing, Blue Hotel, Somebody’s Crying and so on) were scattered through the show, but there were all manner of other songs. His lesser known singles, for a start, and a bunch of covers – like Ring of Fire, Great Balls of Fire (my personal highlight of the night). Many of the artist’s own songs are quite slow and sensual, and so his covers were well chosen to add a bit of energy into the mix, as well as adding to the classic rock n’ roll vibe.
What I loved about this show is that Chris is such a natural performer. So often these days you see performers who think they need 100 back-up dancers and more pyrotechnics than New Years Eve in order to please the audience. But, if you are a real performer, you really don’t need these distractions. I couldn’t help but think of the best performer I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing, Billy Joel – no bull, no special effects, just pure entertainment. Chris is definitely approaching this level (though no one can equal Billy in my mind!).
He had a great, old school backing band, complete with matching suits and buckets of personality. And the only thing approaching special effects were his changes of costumes – especially the mirror ball suit he brought out for the encores!
If this show is coming to your area, I highly recommend you check it out. Even if you don’t know much of his music, I can guarantee you’ll have a great night full of quality entertainment. 5 stars!