I’m just back from the Melbourne gig and I’m sure you all watched the livestream of it (I watched it on the plane trip home!), so I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the new sound with the addition of Tom…
Firstly, I have to say it was strange not have Joji on stage. I wonder how he felt seeing 15,000 going off, knowing that as a solo performer he probably won’t experience that again… Maybe he will, and good on him for going in his own direction, but surely he would’ve felt a pang of regret last night.
But what a revelation having Tom on board makes! Every single song was different live, some with only subtle changes, others with a lot. From the opening bars of Deepest Sighs, with Max on keys, Jung on guitar and Tom on violin, it was obvious what Tom’s versatility will bring to the live sets. And what a brilliant version of Deepest Sighs that was! Strings are such an important part of GFIL, and I always wanted to see them live at some stage- little did I know it would become a permanent fixture! Yes, it’s only one instrument, but in many songs it is a little more faithful to the album sound, and live it sounded a lot more fuller than previously.
What I noticed during The Heart Is A Muscle was firstly the different sound with Tom using a different guitar to Joji, but it also became obvious throughout the set that neither he nor Jung are as technically proficient on guitar as Joji. It’s a big ask for Jung to play lead and I thought he handled it really well all things considered, but he hit a few bum notes and just wasn’t as naturally smooth as Joji. But he will only get better.
I loved the violin during Spirit Wane, it really suits the song, and where I thought it really shone was during Let Me Down Easy. I never thought Joji playing lead guitar did the song justice live, but the violin playing the same melody was a huge improvement, especially the part where the erhu is used on the album. Jung playing the riff from Common People during the last verse was a great touch. Vital Signs was an absolute stonker- I just love that intro of “I will feed you with my own two hands”! And what a sound with 4 guitarists!
Tom seemed super relaxed and certainly wasn’t overawed at the occasion (playing full houses with Mumford & Sons helped there) and really looked to be enjoying himself. In fact, Dave and the others appeared really happy too. There were quite a few technical glitches throughout- both Dave and Jung lost their guitars at different times. The live stream mix didn’t do the live sound justice though, and it’s a real pity the audience wasn’t mic’ed up, as it sounded like nobody was singing or applauding. Trust me, they were!
Overall, I thought it was brilliant, and I’m really excited to hear the direction they will take on the new album.
Love to hear your thoughts too…