Lior With Paul Grabowsky @ Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide 7/6/2019

Singer/ songwriter Lior and composer/ pianist Paul Grabowsky, two of Australia’s seminal musicians, have joined forces to reinvent some of Lior’s most unforgettable songs in a magical evening of entertainment. For one night only they graced the Dunstan Playhouse to share their talents as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

The stage, near bare with a piano, guitar and microphone stand, was entered by Grabowsky, a name synonymous in the Australian music scene for over forty years. He appeared unassuming as the crowd spontaneously roused applause for the simple fact it was Paul Grabowsky that stood before them. He matter-of-factly explained how the show would unfold then launched into October, his only solo piece for the evening, and transported the near sold old crowd to a musical world of wonderment. The equally humble Lior echoed this sentiment as he joined Grabowsky on stage shortly thereafter.

With his guitar positioned stage left just out of reach, Lior navigated the room through a journey of reinvention over the course of seventy-five minutes. Not only did he sing while Grabowsky accompanied on the piano, but he enlightened with the stories behind the songs. This added a sense of intimacy to the performance and to an extent broke down the notion of us as fans and them as famous musicians because we were permitted to hear the visceral details of Lior’s life.

Without a hint of pretension eleven songs from three albums and one unreleased song were showcased by the duo. From the delightful A Lift in the Morning Fog from Scattered Reflections (2014) to arguably Lior’s most well-known song other than Hoot’s Lullaby, This Old Love from Autumn Flow (2005), the crowd were treated to moments of candour, genuineness and beauty. While Grabowsky spoke with his piano, Lior amazed with his tranquil, and at times haunting, vocals.

The pairs interpretation of Bedouin Song, which Lior lightheartedly credited as having won a world record for being played simultaneously on triple j, ABC Classic radio and Australian Idol, was nothing short of sublime. Grey Ocean similarly produced chills down the spine. The combination of wistful lyrics, haunting vocals and piano united with such precision that a collective sense of melancholy emerged despite the brightly lit stage.

Similarly, My Grandfather from Scattered Reflections (2014), performed solo by Lior on guitar, was breathtaking and had the audience utterly captivated. On the opposite side of the spectrum lay Autumn Flow, a song about Lior’s daughter’s birth. The song that almost wasn’t a song was performed in a typical Randy Newman style. With its upbeat nature, heartfelt and hopeful lyrics, a communal warmth and feeling of contentment filled the room as it played.

The individual talent of Lior and Paul Grabowsky is undeniable and oozes sophistication. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with. The overall simplicity of their Adelaide Cabaret Festival performance was the ideal method to highlight the richness and finesse of the music they created. It was a truly delightful and memorable experience.

Live Review By Anita Kertes