St Patrick's celebrations came to Brisbane two days early when Mary Black, renowned Irish ballad singer, entertained the QPAC Concert Hall (15 March).
Mary Black is bidding goodbye to her Australian audience on this tour, named 'The Last Call', as she has announced she plans to give up global touring to remain closer to home and enjoy being a grandparent.
The event also had a family flavour as support was provided by Roisin O, Mary's daughter who has released her own solo album. Roisin entertained with original material as well as versions of Sia's 'Chandelier' and Michael Jackson's 'Man In The Mirror', a song Mary commented on the "very special sentiment" of, when she joined her mother onstage for an encore.
There was a poignant moment when Mary invited Ken O'Flaherty up onstage from the audience to realise his dream of singing with Mary on this, her last ever Brisbane show. There was warm applause for Ken as he sang 'Katie' with the woman he said he had been listening to for many years.
Leaving the stage, the Brisbane local said it was a mark of the performer's character that she said "come fulfil your dream" when he wrote to her sharing the ambition.
One of the loudest cheers of the night came just a few songs into the first half of Mary's set with the crowd recognising the first bars of Mary's well known 'No Frontiers' before she got the crowd to join in with the singing of 'Only A Woman's Heart'.
With all the presence of someone who has been on the stage for decades, Mary retains down-to-earth qualities as she shares stories of how certain songs came into her set and what they mean to her taking several moments to pay tribute to the songwriters and offer her own thoughts on the songs' meanings.
She would reflect on her mother's passing and how after this loss, she took on the role of keeping the family together before her touching tribute, 'Your Love'.
At the end of the night, the crowd rose to bid farewell to a star that has been touring since the '60s. But there was consolation for many in discovering the next generation of the family's talent in Roisin.