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Pete Murray in concert

January 3, 2009 by Joanne Smith

Kings Park, Perth WA
11 December 2004

Sometimes it's difficult to separate the self from the sound. Fandom emanates from and evolves within an individual. These can range from a serious and thoughtful appreciation of music to the foot-stomping, throat-hoarsening screams of lustful fans. This night, I like to think I see-sawed steadily between the two.

"Last time I came here, you guys made me feel like Bruce Springsteen.This time maybe I'm Elvis Presley." Murray told a full capacity Kings Park. Organisers had learnt from last year, where concertgoers for Alex Lloyd were separatedfrom the performer by the lake. This year, a platform enabled the enthusiastic to claim a position in front of the stage. The proximity between performer and audience enhanced the intimacy of the night.

A fine Perth evening and simple breeze were the perfect accompaniment to the easy-going sounds offered. Previous correlations made between Murray's songs and lazy, beach-side surf culture recent articles have associated with it became obvious: see R Newman, "Surf Sounds," Rolling Stone, Australian edn, October 2004, p. 72-79. However on occasion the band injected a heavy sound into the mellow core of the songs, almost to a point of interference, which threatened to reveal Murray's limitations as a musician as he allowed his performance to be overridden.

Murray played nine of the eleven songs from the Feeler album, all received vociferously. He teased the crowd with lesser-known songs, refraining from performing singles until almost halfway through the set. Singles such as Feeler and So Beautiful were echoed back by the crowd, loudly and poorly but with much appreciation. These moments of connection between audience and performer richly layered the night, both feeding on a mutual understanding of musical fandom. Murray's personal inspirations were revealed through a cover of Neil Young's 'Heart of Gold' and the night ended with performer and audience singing the Eurythmic's 'Only You' as one force.

It is these nostalgic moments when the world disappears. It was simply a group sharing an experience that they will remember and smile at when listening to an album. This is perhaps the most accurate assessment of any concert.

My apologies as I am unable to report on the support bands. Due to personal circumstances, I was only able to arrive just as Carus and the True Believers were finishing up.