Xavier Rudd at The Forum, Melbourne, 24 August 2018
The prodigious talents of Xavier Rudd – Australia’s favourite one-man band – were on full display at a sold-out Forum Theatre on Friday night. Coming to the end of the Australian leg of his Storm Boy tour, Rudd brought an energy that permeated everything, from the band on stage to the admittedly spaced-out woman waxing lyrical about love as we exited. Apparently we all just need to allow ourselves to be loved – who could’ve known?
The set kicked off with ‘Honeymoon Bay’ off Storm Boy, Rudd’s ninth album, which set the tone for the evening – high energy and strong messages. This was followed by ‘Rusty Hammer’ off 2015’s Nanna, and ‘Come Let Go’, a certified crowd favourite. By this stage Rudd had the crowd dancing and swaying in time and the vibe felt more festival than anything, like you were kicking back in the sunshine instead of standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a darkened theatre.
Aided by his trusty didgeridoo, Rudd rolled through a slew of songs both old and new, including ‘Feet on the Ground’, ‘Come People’, ‘Walk Away’ and ‘Storm Boy’, a definite highlight. It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since the release of Spirit Bird, Rudd’s seventh album, but any fears that Rudd would forget his earlier material were completely ungrounded. Songs like ‘Spirit Bird’ and the stunning ‘Follow the Sun’, with which he closed, were greatly appreciated by long-time fans, evidenced by shouts for more as he left the stage.
He returned, unsurprisingly, to wow the crowd with a rendition of ‘Lioness Eye’, before making everybody’s evening with the familiar harmonica notes introducing ‘Let Me Be’. Satisfied, the crowd did exactly that as they filed out the doors with smiles on their faces and Rudd’s infectious hope in their hearts.