We all know Jimmy Barnes is the quintessential working class man and he will also be known as the “Working Class Boy” when his autobiography is realised. But after his recent Soul Searchin’ tour culminated in a stellar, sold-out show at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney he should also add “Soul Man” to his list of achievements.
This tour was to promote his latest record, Soul Searchin.’ Some 25 years after the release of his most successful solo record, Soul Deep, Barnes continues to entertain people by thumbing through and selecting choice cuts from an old soul song-book. The 60-year-old former front man of Cold Chisel played an energetic two-part set that saw this soul train rock in at well over the two hour mark.
Barnes was backed by a tight, 10-piece band and this showman made things look so effortless. “Hard Working Woman” had a real funk and groove as Barnes delivered his rough and raw vocals. In “Cry To Me” Barnes had the opportunity to tone down his trademark hollering and instead adopt more of a croon. It was a stunning rendition while a cover of David Bowie’s “All The Young Dudes” proved to be a nice ballad and a respectful doff of the cap to the Thin White Duke.
“Mustang Sally” was the first song to really get the punters up and dancing. This also boasted some perfect backing vocals by Jade McRae, Gary Pinto (CDB) and Mahalia Barnes (the latter had recently given birth and was subbed in to replace Juanita Tippins who had injured herself the previous night.) “Bad Girl” had all of the raw angst of Lee Moses’s original song before Messer Barnes declared that Wilson Pickett was his favourite singer of all time and played a searing “In The Midnight Hour.” This one really saw the horn section come into their element.
The group also worked their way through a series of duets. McRae offered “Reflections” while Pinto had some big shoes to fill when he took John Farnham’s place for “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby.” This was lovely and as soft and sweet as a lullaby, but unfortunately Pinto was often drowned out by Barnsey. This was not the case for Mahalia who seemed to capture the soaring spirit of Tina Turner in “River Deep, Mountain High.” This was heavenly and it was interesting that Messer Barnes said he learnt to sing from Tina Turner after he snuck into her Adelaide show in the seventies and watched her from the front row.
The second set included some more powerful funk and opportunities to get up and dance. Steve Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” was wonderful and bombastic. The main set also came to a rousing end with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the crazy ‘na na’s of Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1000 Dances” and the Chess Records classic, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher.” The encore also included some more swaggering soul, especially in “Hold On, I’m Coming.” But it was The Beatles’s “Hey Jude” that closed the night with a gorgeous sing-along and some enthusiastic lighters being waved in the air.
Jimmy Barnes’s Sydney show still managed to pack a punch even though he was playing us some soul songs and some of these could still be considered forgotten gems. Barnes delivered the tracks with a real heartfelt feeling and conviction and he proved himself to be an amazing showman who also shows no signs to slowing down. This Soul-Searchin’ tour saw Barnsey in his element, playing his favourite soul, R & B and blues standards in the company of family, friends and fans. It was a show that reached out and captured your heart, mind and soul and rocked it to its core.
Jimmy Barnes live at the Enmore Theatre Sydney set list:
1. Hard Working Woman
2. She’s Lookin’ Good
3. Cry To Me
4. All The Young Dudes
5. Mustang Sally
6. Bad Girl
7. The Dark End Of The Street
8. The Stealer
9. In The Midnight Hour
10. When Something Is Wrong With My Baby
11. You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover
13. Lonely For You Baby
14. Shake, Rattle & Roll
15. Keep A-Knockin’ (But You Can’t Come In)
16. My Baby Just Cares For Me
17. That’s Right
18. Hound Dog
19. I Gotcha
20. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
22. Stagger Lee
23. Show Me
24. Rip It Up
25. Money (That’s What I Want)
26. What Becomes Of The Broken-hearted
27. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
28. River Deep, Mountain High
29. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher
30. Many Rivers To Cross
31. Chain Of Fools
32. Hold On, I’m Comin’
33. Hey Jude
Originally published on 29 August 2016 at the following website: http://magazine.100percentrock.com/live-reviews/201608/197401
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