LIVE REVIEW: Jon Stevens with special guest Laurie Luke

I was very keen to review Jon Stevens, it had been two long years since I had seen him last – coincidentally at the same venue (Freo Social) and I was looking forward to his unique blend of music and onstage cheekiness. My eagerness always gets the better of me when I attend music gigs especially when it is an intimate setting…I like to be awkwardly early. The previous night (Saturday) Jon was supporting Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper at a jam-packed RAC Arena in Perth an amazing gig but this feels like he could “reach out and touch somebody” at this one – if you pardon the pun!

I swan up to the entry expecting it to be just me but there is already a line to get in! Clearly I am part of an elite group of at least 30+ people that are super punctual… if that is what you call it. I can make out a few lines to a song being sung, it is a classic Noiseworks piece of history – the lads are running through sound-check (how exciting) I have never been in during a sound-check. Security escort me through and I calmly sit down and absorb the atmosphere. I know I am allowed to be here… but it feels like I have snuck in, I feel naughty, like I should not be watching this but I just sit there quiet as a mouse and become a musical sponge. It took all my energy and professionalism when the lads were speaking about what to play next for me not to yell out my requests… “they aren’t my personalised juke box, Rossco” don’t ruin this moment!!!!! – thank god I was too nervous lol….. the next time I will see them will be in full flight, in about an hour or so time with a heap of enthusiastic backing singers.

Glenn Reither (Sax) & Chris Bekker (Bass)

The Jon Stevens camp had chosen very wisely in securing the local champion Laurie Luke for the support role tonight. The front rail was tightly packed with punters, shoulder to shoulder there was not even an inch to be given. Laurie opened with his appreciation for the opportunity, thanked the punters for coming out to support and got straight into work. He whipped that crowd into a frenzy delivering his 5-song set list accompanied by his guitar, loop station and amazing voice. His up-tempo music, sharp wit and sense of humour caressed the Stevens’ faithful and reassured them that they were is for a great night.  His standout songs for me were “Rainbow, Loaded and Long Way” – to be honest they all sounded amazing and 5 songs were just not enough. An electric opening for Jon…….. he would have been stoked!

Laurie Luke

Jon was up next. The bar at Freo Social was empty as the punters were scrambling to grab their spot to view the spectacle about to take place, they were primed and ready to go. Jon opened up with one of my favourites (and the crowd too) – “Touch” – I had wedged myself between the stage and the front rail to grab my photos, witnessing the genuine exchange of appreciation from Jon to his fans. One thing I can categorically say is that Jon is one of the most humble entertainers I’ve been privileged to watch perform.

It was hit after hit after hit, Jon delved through the award wining library of Noiseworks and INXS and executed them with clinical precision. There was not one song that I could see that did not have everyone singing along (including myself). I felt like was a backing singer to my own life story…. It felt amazing. Time stood still with little reprieve (if only between songs) with Jon adding context about the songs and stories of his personal journey with his music.

Johnny Salerno (Drums)

Jon talked about his fan interactions online and the feedback (song requests) that he had on the start of this tour, a personalized spin on hearing a song that you requested sung by Jon Stevens irrespective of its origin (Jon Stevens doing a cover of your requested song – how cool is that!!!) not too many artists give you an opportunity to create your own playlist.

Tony Kopa (Guitar & Vocals)

The set list was cleverly crafted from start to encore (and thank God there was an encore as there would have been riots in Fremantle). It was a flow of emotion, a beautiful carousel of music gently jumping from year to year seamlessly transitioning – hitting its emotive peak with thanking Michael Hutchence during spellbinding “Never Tear Us Apart”. I rode that high for hours after! Amazing night for the fans  – highlights for me, “Never Tear Us Apart”, “Devil Inside”, “Heart and Soul”, “No Lies”, “Hot Chili Woman”, “Sex is on Fire” (cover was very cool indeed) and “Take me Back”. Once again Jon was backed by his formidable band of brothers: Tony Kopa (guitar & backing vocals), Chris Bekker (bass), Glenn Reither (keys & sax), Johnny Salerno (drums) & Sammy Vincent (lead guitar).

Sammy Vincent (Lead Guitar)

If you get the chance and this show – “Side shows, Rock & Roll up” is in your area go and see it. It doesn’t matter what day it is on or what time quiet frankly as it is worth every penny. You will be saturated in amazing music, smiling from ear to ear and feel like you are part of the “Jon Stevens” family……. Let me know how long that smile stays on your face!.. mine was days afterwards– thanks Jon – take me back anytime!

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