To witness Russell Brand live is certainly a different experience to any of his other creative endeavours. Leave your prejudices at the turnstile because an evening with Mr Brand will leave you entertained – whether you're a fan or not.
When Russell enters a room, even one as large as the Brisbane Entertainment Centre (22 Oct), there is an electricity present that crackles with opportunity, and on this night the man many label a messiah of pop culture was in golden form (despite the local joke about the Brisbane Lions/ Gold Coast Suns bombing).
Tonight, and as part of his global tour – Trew World Order – Russell is preaching (yes, in another world there is no doubt Russell would command an equally loyal following as an evangelicalist) 'collectivism' and how we can reach this state. Which is quite simple. By being together.
It's at this juncture of the show – Russell walking into the crowd – where the real fun begins. There is a humanity to Russell that is genuine... he invites you into his world (even in front of 5,000) to share, have a laugh and hopefully learn something together, like the following exchange: Brand: "What happens in Byron Bay?" he asks a hippie couple. "Enlightenment! Freedom!" is the reply. "It's where the evolution of man really begins." Brand: "Yeah, well you say 'enlightenment' but I hear 'anal sex'."
One of the most recognisable faces of the past decade enthuses utter dedication from his fans, yet his critics – who receive a fair shellacking from Brand on this evening – encourage a fervent distaste for the man. And both camps are filled with people across all social-economic backgrounds.
Many tag labels such as revolutionist to Russell. This I'm not sold on. But what I do like, even admire about Russell is he's lived what many would call a surreal and amazing life so far, yet he hasn't fallen victim to the lures of fame, and today Russell is opening up conversations many have never contemplated having.
And I think that is something to be applauded. Because the more conversations that are started about politics, community, spirituality, war and a host of others, isn't the world's population in a better position?