Mingling in the foyer of the beautiful Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre I hear a man and woman in a spirited discussion over what songs may be played during tonight's Ian Moss show.
The woman says “I really like the new songs, I hope he plays a lot of them.” The man responds with, “Nah, I prefer the old stuff; he’d have to play more of them than the new stuff.”
Moss is primarily recognised as a tenacious and melodic electric lead guitarist with a soulful, bluesy voice.
Whilst he play’s some ripping riffs tonight, it is his voice that is the star of the show.
The Cold Chisel guitarist and vocalist was in fine form on Saturday at the Dubbo stop of his intimate and solo acoustic tour.
Playing songs from across his long career the 63-year-old left the Dubbo crowd wanting more after two hours of classic Australian rock music, stripped back to one voice and one acoustic guitar.
“It took a bit of nerve for me to unplug and play acoustic, but it has injected this freshness into my playing,” he said.
Moss did not disappoint the crowd, playing songs from his new self-titled album plus a healthy amount of Cold Chisel and solo tunes.
The 400 strong crowd were in good voice, singing along to many of the songs during the evening, proving that Cold Chisel remains one of Australia’s favourite bands and Ian Moss one of the nation’s favourite musicians.
The singer commented early in the evening that he “always enjoys playing in Dubbo.”
The first set opens with a smooth laid back rendition of the Ella Fitzgerald classic, Cry Me a River.
New song Down Along The Track picks up the pace and Matchbook’s Out of the Fire brings the crowd alive.
Out of the Fire was always a passionate song, but the acoustic treatment finds his voice dripping with soul, partly due to slightly different phrasing to the original.
Moss is in excellent voice tonight and the Dubbo crowd is rowdy and appreciative.
The one voice-one guitar presentation gives Dubbo punters an insight into how some of these songs may have been written; it’s easy to imagine Moss’ demos sounding like this before they got the full band treatment.
“People have given up writing protest songs, they just want to write boy-girl songs,” Moss says before delivering a heartfelt rendition of Message from Baghdad.
An emotional reading of former Cold Chisel drummer Stephen Prestwich’s song My Suffering leads into a roaring version of classic Chisel radio song, My Baby which gets the crowd clapping along and lifts the tempo perfectly.
At 63 when many singers are losing a bit from their voices, Moss seems to be getting better. You can hear the miles from the road in his voice.
More Cold Chisel classics follow, a beautifully bluesy reading of Janelle and Flame Trees are a perfect finish to the first set, the dropped D tuning in Flame Trees gives it a lovely dirge feel and also has the crowd singing along.
A couple of new songs start the second set If Another Day is catchy and should have been a big hit.
Choir Girl a big hit from Chisel’s East album gets the crowd singing again, this is another song that benefits from the acoustic reading, Moss throws in little guitar licks that complement the vocals wonderfully.
Blues fingerpicking and riffing on East’s Never Before gets feet tapping and bodies moving in their seats, another tempo lifter and one helluva groovy song that has an extended guitar work out, the crowd love it.
The second set is rockier and rowdier than the first and the run home of Telephone Booth, Saturday Night and Tucker’s Daughter bring the house down.
The singing competition on Saturday Night is a terrific moment with Mossy encouraging the audience to “find a key” , the remark eliciting a few giggles.
The anthemic Tucker’s Daughter – which Moss wrote in collaboration with Don Walker – sat in the Top 10 for 11 weeks and hit No 1 for two weeks and is a clear crowd favourite tonight.
You could hear a pin drop during the encore when new song Broadway is played, it’s the strongest song on his new self-titled album, a masterstroke in pacing, proving the new songs are as good as the old ones.
When The War Is Over has always been such a touching song, and Mossy’s voice soars in tonight’s version.
Cheap Wine gets another sing-along treatment and an extended ovation.
By the time Moss gets to his perennial classic, Bow River the crowd has sung, clapped and danced for more than two hours.
The fact no-one has called out for Moss to play Khe Sanh is testament to how well he entertained the audience tonight. The song choices were excellent.
As I walk out I catch the same couple, the man is beaming exclaiming “so great to hear the Chisel classics”, I chip in with, “how about the new songs though, I reckon they were top notch,” he nods and says, “yea, I’m going to buy the new album now, they were all excellent.”
Not bad for a bloke who has done it all in a long career, to have new songs as strong as his classics, come back to Dubbo soon Mossy, you rock!
“I really like the new songs, I hope he plays a lot of them.” “Nah I prefer the old stuff; he’d have to play more of them than the new stuff.”An overheard conversation in the foyer of the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre.