John Butler Trio at The Falls Festival, Lorne VIC
The Valley Stage, Thursday 29 December 2011
I haven’t seen the John Butler Trio perform live for a very long time and I, along with thousands of others, was chomping at the bit for their set. As mentioned in our full review, the trio were very well received by the crowd. One of the most respectful performers I’ve seen, after the first song John Butler took a moment to sincerely acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land before taking off with a rousing rendition of “Gonna Be A Long Time”. A sure crowd favourite “Used To Get High” had the party erupting down the front and the rest of the crowd up the hill grooving along, not surprising given how much of the crowd identified with the lyrics!
The trio took a moment to comment on and thank those who have added their voice to the fight to save the Kimberly and dedicated “Revolution” to the people fighting for the land. A moving performance full of conviction. With a similar sentiment, John Butler then dedicated to Barack Obama, Shania Twain, KFC and a retinue of other influential world figures, a very driven and defiant performance of “Better Than”.
To bring the crowd back together as one voice, if you can imagine about 12,000 people singing ‘nah-nah-nanana, nana-nana’,well then you’d be close to knowing how well “Zebra” went down. Imagining it? Well, now imagine mid song, a scat type call and response with said crowd. It was a stirring performance that had the audience invested and engaged, so when a haunting steely opening revealed “Treat Yo Mama”, it was to an instant favorite and hit with the crowd.
Whipped in to a joyous fray, the crowd sang along to “One Way Round” and were brought back to earth with the finale, “Close To You”. Once again during the bridge, while all three were in a multi-drum improvised jamming moment, they thanked organizers, staff and volunteers, snuck in a phrase of “Funky Cold Medina” and a cow bell medley, just for kicks.
Their set was one of the most enthralling, uplifting performances I have seen and they delivered it so effortlessly I felt we should have danced and sung together until dawn. We can only hope that there are plans or works in the pipes for a new album. No hint was made, but the crowd came away from that set so euphoric that I’m sure we all were hopeful for a new album to fall in love with soon.