After 12 years, Angus & Julia Stone still know how to put on a show.
Packed to the rafters, Eatons Hill Hotel in Brisbane (28 April) was the perfect, intimate setting, the all-ages gig teeming with old fans and new.
Despite their softly-spoken voices, the brother-sister duo commanded an almost awe-inspiring presence, every song a hymn to be worshipped by their adoring admirers.
The show got off to a slow start, with a few hours of special guests and quirky, ‘60s lounge music before Angus and Julia finally took to the stage.
The backing screen flickered to life, the animated images changing from song to song: snowy trees, green and purple thunderstorms, the thunderous night sky and a wide range of forest-like visuals that seemed to lead the audience right into the dreamy music.
Starting with the serene ‘Baudelaire’, Julia wowed audiences with her one-handed trumpet-playing. Angus hypnotised the crowd with ‘Make It Out Alive’, strumming away seamlessly as though there was no one else in the room.
Julia introduced a few of the songs as they segued from one to the other, chatting about what they were about, how their experiences in life shaped the songs and what the older songs meant to them now.
Though most of the tunes were from their new album, ‘Snow’, the subdued rendition of the much-loved ‘Big Jet Plane’ and the hypnotic ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ were the highlights of the night.
But the most magical aspect was the soulful rendition of ‘For You’, the familiar guitar opening sending fans into a frenzy, the combined voices of the audience and Julia almost deafening in the intimate setting.
The vocals were dreamy and melodic, almost as though reaching for someone forever out of reach, and the music was superb, with an almost experimental use of synth and organ sounds over their signature guitars that seemed to echo around the room.
Julia’s trumpet solo was superb, only outdone by Angus’ banjo-playing, with fans stomping their feet as they seemed to sing a variety of songs all at once.
Towards the end of the night the crowd sung happy birthday to Angus, who took the opportunity, like Julia, to talk about a few of the songs and how they made him feel.
The duo then launched into ‘Santa Monica Dream’, a welcome blast from the past, sending shivers down spines and concocting images of what once was, what is and what will be. And the song seemed to be a signal of the set itself, a mixture of old and new, with excitement of new music on the horizon.
Finishing with ‘Chateau’, gold confetti rained from the ceiling, the screen changed from blue to purple to pink and finally faded altogether, as the crowd roared and stamped their feet.