Robert Forster @ Brisbane Powerhouse, 18.09.2010

I really like Robert Forster and have enjoyed all the times I’ve seen him play live but there was something disappointing about tonight.  It was billed as ’15 Songs About Brisbane’ so I expected 15 songs about Brisbane.  I didn’t doubt that there would be a fair number of Go Betweens’ songs, the early songs before the move to London, the later songs after they reformed.  I thought there might be a song or two from Brisbane bands that he grew up with.  I thought there might also be a few covers from other Brisbane bands.  Songs about Brisbane.  That’s what I expected.  But the disappointment is that the way Forster has interpreted ’15 Songs About Brisbane’ and tailored tonight means that basically any of the Go Betweens’ songs or his solo compositions are songs about Brisbane.

I mean he did play songs that were obviously about Brisbane and he included a few covers, Strawberry Wine by John Steel Singers, The Prisoner by The Saints and I Can’t See Nobody by The Bee Gees.  I’d never really considered that they were songs about Brisbane in particular but maybe I was just taking the title of the evening too literally and expecting a suite of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ -type songs about Brisbane.  I mean German Farmhouse may be many things but I never would have considered it a song about Brisbane.

Talking of Waterloo Sunset, he also did a ’15 Songs about London’ performance a few months before the Brisbane show.  It turns out that Cattle And Cane and Darlinghurst Nights are songs about London, not songs about Rockhampton (where Grant McLennan grew up) or Sydney as I would have thought.  It’s also interesting to compare the songs played at the two performances (the London setlist is here, the Brisbane show is reviewed here) and find that Part Company, Love Is A Sign and I Can Do are both songs about London and songs about Brisbane.

But maybe it’s just me.  It was an enjoyable evening, as it always is in Robert Forster’s company, so I probably shouldn’t quibble too much about the details.

Photos first published on Collapse Board.


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