John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

Live reviews

Intro drone
Heartbreak Hotel
Reading My Mind
Hey Ray
Model Beirut Recital
Save Us
Walkin' the Dog
Sold Motel
A Day in the Life of the Common Cold
Big White Cloud
OuttaThe Bag
Chinese Envoy
Ghost Story
You Know More Than I Know
Cable Hogue
Venus in Furs
Pablo Picasso
Mary Lou
Gravel Drive

Sydney 2007-11-08

Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Review by Ken Clark

The Enmore Theatre is a wonderful old vaudeville theatre, built in 1908 which has seen many renovations over the years as it was converted into a movie house in 1912, extensively renovated in 1920 and is now a premier concert venue. Even Paul Stanley has played there.

There are two spacious bars within the Theatre for refreshment and always pleasant to run into road manager Tony Paris and exchange a few words.

John Cale and his youthful band of proficient musicians took to the stage just after 9 pm and performed a passionate two hour set of classics from the past as well as some innovative new unreleased material.

John alternated between keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars throughout the night. Michael Jerome played some thundering drums to drive everything into the ether sphere. Joseph Karnes thumped out stunning bass lines, upright bass and keyboard accompaniment to provide a solid backbone. Elegant lead guitar was provided by Dustin Boyer. The sound was expansive and rich in texture.

For followers of the water supply, Cale had two bottles wrapped in a blanket to his left and all the back up musicians had a similar egalitarian reserve. His hair did not seem to have any psychedelic colourings on the night and he wore a blue/grey check lumberjack shirt with chinos.

Here is the setlist:

  1. Intro Drone
  2. Heartbreak Hotel: The live version he has been playing on recent tours with treated vocals, "Diddy Wah Diddy", and "Thank You Very Much" robotic adland voices, a stunning opener.
  3. Hey Ray: The new unreleased song about the artist Ray Johnston, introduced by Cale as being "being all about what happened in New York City from 1963 to 1973", I hope it is on his next studio album, very catchy chorus and amusing lyrics
  4. Model Beirut Recital: Straight rocker version that requires no additional commentary, pounding drums from Jerome
  5. Save Us: Fabulous drone ending with lots of interaction between all the musicians
  6. Walking the Dog: Some extended tuning at the beginning to get it right, menacing version
  7. Sold Motel
  8. A Day in the Life of the Common Cold: Another unreleased new song with a complex structure and interesting lyrics, not many could pull off this type of material with a beautiful segue into the nest song
  9. Big White Cloud: a lovely version, slowed right down to a dirge
  10. Hush
  11. Outta the Bag: Great guitar exchanges between Cale and Boyer, soulful blues licks, outstanding bass by Karnes, ended with a fine dirty burn out
  12. Chinese Envoy
  13. Ghost Story: Magnificent acoustic guitars on this one
  14. You Know More Than I Know
  15. Cable Hogue: great echo effects on the vocals, with ending guitar flourishes by Boyer sounding a bit like "Norwegian Wood"
  16. Things
  17. Venus in Furs: exotic treated viola
  18. Pablo Picasso: more rough treated vocals
  19. Mary Lou: a completely rocked out version
  20. Gravel Drive: outstanding live version with much sonic wonderment
  21. Guts: Blazing solo by Boyer, Cale turns into Jerry Lee Lewis
  22. Chorale: "A song written on New Years Eve for CBGBs"

At the end of the concert, as in Brisbane, Cale and the band patiently signed t-shirts, cds, and bits of paper for all the fans in the lobby of the theatre. What a fine way to round off an excellent concert.

It was indeed a well spent evening of superior entertainment from one of the last artist/performers from the 1960s with any kind of credibility left in 2007. The Australian tour looks like a winner, go see him now!

© 1999- Hans Werksman