Live - Silverchair - Palais Theatre, Melbourne Australia
By Robyn Doreian (Rock Sound)
With its heavy velvet curtains and matinee fabric seats, this regal theatre is a perfect venue for Daniel Johns’ vision. The vocalist wanted the ‘Across The Night’ tour to reflect the giant musical strides taken since teen hit, ‘Israel’s Son’, but the trio can’t escape their history entirely. By dividing the gig into two parts, Johns satisfies himself in the first half with mellower songs and a selection from ‘Diorama’, and the crowd during the second, with a bevy of rockers. Once the curtain is drawn, the slender besuited Johns seats himself at the piano, tinkering his way through the gentle ‘After All These Years’. The stage comes alive with a backdrop of gilt-framed video screens, pastel quad boxes, rainbow-coloured light stands and wafts of incense. Providing a total contrast to the genteel Johns, bass guitarist Chris Joannou takes the stage in jeans with his shirt hanging out, followed by drummer Ben Gillies in trousers, vest and a pork pie hat. Assisted by pre-show vodka, Johns bursts into life. Moving freely after his arthritis ordeal and displaying an uncharacteristic joy at playing, he positively shines during the epic ‘World Upon Your Shoulders’. During the interval, all colour is removed from the stage for a stripped back set.
When Silverchair launches into famed teenage-grunge sensation moment ‘Israel’s Son’, the crowd jumps to their feet, some girls even screaming. Joannou and Gillies also seem to relish the change in tempo. We are also treated to a particularly energetic version of ‘Black Tangled Heart’ and an extended rendition of addictive single ‘The Greatest View’. Johns also displays previously unseen guitar wizardry during ‘The Door’ when he knocked out a few chords with his teeth, à la Hendrix. The vodka kicks in around ‘Anthem For The Year 2000’, when our introverted vocalist can be seen shaking his arse, and striking the Jesus Christ Pose. Dismiss all previous Silverchair shows from your memory, as the ‘Across The Night’ tour shows a totally different band from previous albums. It also becomes clear that this is only stage one of Johns’ musical evolution, and that for the first time in a long time the trio are enjoying playing together. Catch Silverchair while you can, as Johns has immediate plans once these dates finish. And don’t forget to buy your ‘Across The Night’ pyjamas and pillow case on your way out.