Robert Cray Band: live in Adelaide, Australia May21

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Robert Cray Band: live in Adelaide, Australia

Robert Cray Band: live in Adelaide, Australia

When you peruse through someone’s vinyl collection there’s always an old favourite in there. When you come across Robert Cray’s 1986 album Strong Persuader, you know that this is a person worth knowing. This album was my introduction to the American guitarist and it’s an album that I play often. Sure, it wasn’t his first and there have been plenty after it, but the tone of both the vocal and the sublime guitar, was something that hooked me. Not only was the playing magical but we had a guitarist that took the blues and allowed jazz, soul and R&B flow through it. The vocal sung out crystal clear lyrics that expressed good and bad, with Robert being a winner and the loser, the cheater and the cheated on.

It’s a cold night in Adelaide but it’s hot in the venue. The band walk out, so laid back that the well-oiled audience take a few moments to realise that they are on stage. The amps kick and there is Robert Cray a few feet away playing I Shiver and we did. The tone, the voice and it’s all effortless. You get the impression with Robert that when he plays he strokes the guitar but when you see him live, especially close up, he chops into the strings. It doesn’t matter how often you see him or the band, the sound is absolutely spot-on. One song and the place is hypnotised.

That’s how it is for the night, the audience totally transfixed with a band that are at the top of their game. Even the Bill Wither’s song The Same Love that Made Me Laugh sounds like is a Cray original. It’s an effortless display. The most recent track of I Don’t Care is a blinder. Maybe new to a lot of the crowd, and probably not as subtle of some of the gems, but it’s a top track that’s belted out by the band. From 2017 it’s yet another track on an album that really needs another listen.

The hot room has been cooled by a blues fusion sweeping the room and it’s pointless trying to fight it. The immense playing reaches a peak (in my opinion anyway) with Right Next Door (Because of Me), which is my all-time favourite Cray track – of course from Strong Persuader. It was a killer track the day I heard it and the thousand times in between, but the chance to hear this live is a luxury. It is as fresh as the day it was recorded and it reminds me of all of the days listening to this guitarist who is one of the best you will ever hear. A two song encore, with Time makes Two, rounding out a sensational evening.

What can you say about the Robert Cray Band apart from get out there and see this phenomenon live. An incredible night, with an inspirational guitarist. One of the best you will ever hear. You have to see this.

Setlist on the night

  1. I Shiver
  2. The Same Love That Made Me Laugh
  3. I’ll Always Remember You
  4. The Things You Do to Me
  5. Where Do I Go From Here
  6. I Don’t Care
  7. You Had My Heart
  8. Chicken in the Kitchen
  9. You Move Me
  10. These Things
  11. Sadder Days
  12. Just How Low
  13. Right Next Door (Because of Me)
  14. You Must Believe in Yourself
  15. The Forecast (Calls for Pain)
  16. Time Makes Two

Review: Craig Grant

Robert Cray Band: Live In Adelaide, Australia

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