AU ABROAD

Live Review: Jack Johnson + John Cruz + Paula Fuga - Monument Steps, Sydney Opera House (10.12.13)

With the sun setting behind the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a light breeze coming up off the harbour, the conditions could not be any more perfect for a Jack Johnson show. The mellow, part time surfer/full time crooner entertained a healthy sell out crowd for the first of his three shows at the famed Opera House forecourt.

It was with little fan fare when Johnson strolled out to open the show with just his soothing voice and acoustic guitar. Johnson’s melodies are the perfect as a lazy summer day soundtrack. While his songs are mostly love songs for his wife, his message transcends to every couple in the crowd. When the band came out after twenty minutes to join Jack onstage, the mood and tempo lifted and he delivered some of his classic tracks from his early albums. Songs like "Good People", which he claims was a failed theme song to a reality show, "Taylor", "Times Like These", "Banana Pancakes" and "Flake".

Johnson mixed up his set with tracks from his new record From Here To Now To You, which the crowd may not have been familiar with, but given the formula for Jack’s songs, they are instantly likable and you can’t help but feel you know the words anyway. His backing band displayed there own moments of surprise from the quiet, aloof bass player busting out some free rhymes to the keyboardist tapping into some weird Angus Young energy to tear out an accordion solo that was more rock than most guitar solos I've seen for a long time!

Johnson brought his own supports out on this tour in the form of local Hawaiian musicians Paula Fuga and John Cruz. Paula has an amazing strong voice that is melodic and sweet and paints the picture of island life and John Cruz fits into the Jack Johnson mould of easy listening, catchy tunes. Jack brought them out not once but twice during his set and you can see the three have a close bond as friends, neighbours and musicians. It was wonderful to see.

Jack Johnson once said at the beginning of his career that he would only make two records and then go back surfing. Now after 12 years and six albums, Johnson is still in love with music and performing and for us, the audience, its a good thing.