Last night I was lazing on the couch, hungover after an epic wedding and lacking enthusiasm to do much but focus on my recovery. But a couple of months ago I’d booked tickets to see Thomas Oliver and I knew I had to take off my PJ pants and slippers and get myself out the door and to the Opera House.
30 seconds into the first song, an upbeat and stirring Shine Like the Sun, I was no longer tired – I was fully immersed.
I’ve always thought Thomas Oliver is one of New Zealand’s best musicians and last night he proved that once again. With an outstanding band with talent galore, he led us through a set rich in diversity. From the gentle love song intro, into the energetic and personality filled If I Move to Mars (which translates so much better live), before mellowing us out with slow jam Losin’. I was feeling sad as I noticed their was no trumpet on stage for the solo which is my favourite part of this song, but I had no need to feel disappointed, as Oliver went on to pick up his electric guitar and lead us through a solo with a difference, it was stunning.
We got a taste of what’s to come from this man of many talents with new songs Bulgarian Mountains and Time in Tokyo, both lovely little tunes which are hard not to immediately connect with.
But the show stopper moment came during Tenderly, when the weissenborn was pulled out and the blues riffs and melodies Oliver busted out sent waves through the crowd. Add to that his epic grunting howls and the song could be nothing but mesmerising.
Let It Be This One, with collaborator Rhian Sheehan on stage, was the perfect finish. The instrumental lead in was chilling as the haunting whine of the weissenborn gave way to the vocals which once again showcased Oliver’s range and ability to jump into falsetto so effortlessly. It was such a good finish in fact that the crowd happily jumped from our seats to give a well-deserved standing ovation.
Oliver is one hell of a musician but he is also a natural performer. He energetically involved his audience, proudly introduced his band members and gave them time to shine as they played a carefully thought through and polished set.
Thomas Oliver plays the Powerstation in Auckland this Friday 25th, don’t miss it.