Review: The White Album Concert at Riverside Theatre, Perth, 26 July 2018
The White Album Concert came to Perth on Thursday night with Tim Rogers, Chris Cheney, Phil Jamieson and Josh Pyke reuniting for a third tour of The Beatles classic.
They came, they played, and they conquered the sold-out Riverside Theatre.
Of course they did. This had ‘winner’ stamped all over it even before you booked your ticket. The Beatles iconic album played in full by some of the finest musicians you could assemble and ably led by four of the best front men Australia has produced, on their third crack at it. Let’s face it, if you don’t like it already, you’re never going to.
Everyone who eagerly entered the theatre doors already had an intimate love of the setlist and songs so only the delivery could disappoint, but expecting a carbon copy of the Fab Four would be a bit rough.
Song tracks were played in chronological order as they appeared on the album, opening with the rocker ‘Back In The USSR’ with Cheney comfortably belting out the goods. As the White Album is renowned for its scattergun approach of musical genres, each song was allocated by genre to the four singers’ specialities. Cheney got the rockers, Pyke got the ballads, Jamieson got the cheeky, and Rogers the wonderfully weird.
While everyone’s opinion will differ as to what is classic and what is crap on this album, you cant deny there was some weird going on, and Rogers was the perfect pawn.
Jamieson’s work on ‘Yer Blues’ was fantastic and had the crowd cheering with approval. Jamieson waltzing into the crowd was also good fun.
Pyke’s rendition of ‘Blackbird’, solo, on darkened stage and with spotlight, was spine-tinglingly beautiful. Goosebumps.
Cheney’s version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was worth the ticket price alone. A beautifully respectful rendition of the guitar song highlighted the musicianship of this man and had jaws on the floor.
Rogers brought the commentary and the comedy for the night and perfectly broke up any of the bizarre with something typically laconic like, “Shit’s getting weird, huh?”
With the setlist not allowing for any song surprises, Rogers provided the rogue element, that welcome air of uncertainty with every appearance on stage at any moment, anytime.
A great album delivered to the converted, by the best, was always going to end in a standing ovation. Oh, and one little bit of advice: don’t leave just as the needle rolls off the last groove of song 30 to beat the crowds to the carpark. The ripping encore will have you dancing in the aisles.