Updated: May 22, 2019
I'll admit I have only just discovered Melbourne’s Forum Theatre, and the beauty that is one of the finest music venues in Melbourne, so I was very excited to be seeing another talented artist perform there. The Forum is host to some of the best artists music has to offer and Dean Lewis was no exception. Having sold out every single show on his ‘A Place We Knew Tour’, Friday the 17th of May saw Dean delight fans on his first of three sold out nights at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre.
Bathed in red light, the lovely Eliott opened the night, treating the early-comers to a solid performance. Despite the small crowd she was unphased and definitely proved she had ‘something’ special. Performing tracks like ‘All I Want’, and ‘Figure It Out’, her setlist also included several of her unreleased songs. One of which saw Eliott open her heart and describe a time when she was in a really shitty place and making bad decisions, something I think most of her audience were able to relate with. As her angelic voice reverberated through The Forum walls ‘calling out’ with a performance of crowd favourite ‘Calling’ I was left covered in goosebumps. Playing the keyboard, each note was hit with such precision and grace, and, paired with her powerful voice ricocheting through the theatre, it was truly an uplifting performance. Not to mention those gorgeous ‘ooooohs’.
Eliott then switched the keyboard for a guitar proving she's a multi talented woman, continuing to wow her audience. Then going on to share the story behind her most recent, hit song ‘Shaking My Hips’ written after she found her ex-boyfriend in a club with another girl. Her voice holds such power and is so defined it's truly remarkable. The lyrics “over and over’’ from her song ‘Over and Over’ resonated with me particularly, because I gladly would've watched her all night. But of course all good things must come to an end and it was time for Elliot to leave the stage. I for one look forward to seeing her do big things ahead of her upcoming headline shows.
Where Elliot brought angelic and heartfelt, Winterbourne brought the comedy. Right from the moment they stepped on stage with beers in hand, they had the audience in the palm of their hand, and took every opportunity to make them laugh. The Australian duo consisting of Jordan Brady and James Draper were right at home on the stage, backed by a drummer and a cello player. Playing hits from their unreleased debut album Echo Of Youth they delighted the audience with ‘Puzzle’, and ‘The Actors’. ‘Better’ and ‘Take The Golden’ were two of my personal favourites however. Their repertoire also included one of their older songs ‘Cold’ which literally gave me chills. In true larrikin style they questioned the audience asking them ‘whether they were excited to see Dean perform’, as the audience erupted into a chorus of screaming and clapping, they joked that they'd ‘seen him six times and that he’s still good’, which saw the crowd erupt into further laughter.
During Winterbourne’s performance fans slowly trickled in, and, by the time Winterbourne left the stage the Forum was packed with the audience ready and raring to go. These men are destined for big things and their album release set for August, I believe is just the start. Definitely one to keep an eye on! Finally it was time for the man everyone had been waiting for. As the much anticipated arrival of Mr Dean Lewis neared, the crowd was filled with nervous energy and excitement.
In true spirit of his tour being called ‘A Place We Knew’ Dean took to the stage with his song ‘A Hold Of Me’, ironically also the first song on his debut album. A minor detail that didn’t go unnoticed by his audience. And, boy did he have a hold of his audience right from the first word that left his mouth, myself included. By the chorus the crowd were screaming and singing every word, and this set the preface for the night.
Right from the start I was captivated by Dean and his ability to make a sold out theatre feel intimate, a skill possessed by only the greatest of musicians. Dean made us feel right at home and proved himself quite the storyteller too, letting us into his world and sharing the creation behind many of his tracks. His setlist including a combination of both old and new. The energy of the crowd was electric as Dean sang ‘Need You Now’ from debut EP Same Kind Of Different, followed by ‘A Place We Knew’. ‘Stay Awake’ was a personal highlight for me and seeing it live was something else entirely. The crowd sang every word, belting out the chorus “if the feeling’s gone, stay awake stay awake stay awake with me”.
Then going on to swap his guitar for a keyboard and performing crowd favourite ‘Chemicals’, this was one that took my breath away. Bathed in a single beam of light Dean shared that ‘Chemicals’ was ‘kind of an old song now’ and was written on a road trip. On one of the rare occasions that’s happened ‘maybe two to three times’ in his career where ‘the words fell down from the sky at the same time’. As he hit each note the crowd were left completely transfixed, soaking in every word that left his lips “hold me, I’m falling apart, ‘cause I’m scared and lost in the dark”. From beauty and tranquility Dean then sent fans crazy with 2017 single ‘Lose My Mind’. Belting out ’cause I only lose my mind when I ain’t got you’ he detailed the plight of anyone who has ever been on the verge of losing someone “you can’t live without” and the feelings associated with this loss.
Detailing how he ‘used to write songs for other people’ Dean revealed that ‘Half A Man’ was the song he was originally commissioned to write for someone else. However, once completed it became the song he ‘could never ever sell’, Fans showed their support of his decision by singing every word, without missing a beat “but how am I supposed to love you, when I don’t know who I am’’. Every word filled with such emotion and longing it was incredibly heartfelt. It has its rightful place on his recently released debut album A Place We Knew.
‘Time To Go’ was next up, followed by ‘Don’t Hold Me’. Surprisingly Dean revealed that ‘Don’t Hold Me’ was actually supposed to be the EP, but it didn’t sound 100%. He also shared that he was ‘honestly surprised by the response it’s had’ and that he’d ‘added things to it while on tour in Europe’.
Crowd favourite ‘Be Alright’ was written after Dean was ‘sitting at his ex-girlfriend’s house, on his computer, with their phones sitting together, when a message popped up on her phone from another guy’. He revealed that, what he thought was the worst thing ever, actually proved itself to be the best. This song echoed the sentiments of trying to hold onto a relationship that you know is bad for you and ‘let her go’. Emphasising that everything will ‘be alright’ even when it doesn’t feel like it. I’ll admit I too joined in and sang every word. You could barely hear Dean over the crowd singing the chorus especially, ‘and my friends say I know you love her but it’s over mate… it’s never easy to walk away, let her go, it’ll be okay’. And Dean sure made us feel ‘alright’.
Probably my favourite track of Dean’s was ‘7 minutes’, which he revealed the chorus for was written in the back of an Uber when he was seeing a girl. During the chorus Dean stepped away from the microphone and let the crowd sing, taking a moment to take it all in. It was a rather powerful moment with everyone in the audience singing ‘I forgot to love you, love you love you, I forgot to love you’ in unison.
Swapping from one of his own songs to one from someone else, Dean shared that he ‘just had to include a cover’. After playing it everywhere backstage in Europe, it was only fair that it be a rendition of The Killers ‘When You Were Young’. This killer performance sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy and was very well enjoyed. Everyone knew the hit and they sang every word, definitely a common theme throughout the night.
Closing his set with ‘For The Last Time’, he revealed that that was the first song he ever wrote ‘that didn’t suck’ and actually came before well loved track ‘Be Alright’. As he left the stage fans were shaking the floor and stomping their feet chanting for an encore, and deliver he did.
As Dean re-entered the stage accompanied by thunderous applause he barely missed a beat, getting straight back into with ‘Straight Back Down’.
But of course it was ‘Waves’ that everyone was waiting for, myself included. ‘Waves’ being the song Dean shared with us had ‘changed his life three years ago’. And, as he took to the keys for his last song of the night, the lyrics washed over the crowd in waves. Bathed in various shades of aqua and dark blue light, we were reminded of the ocean and being aptly carried away to another place by his lyrics “it comes and goes in waves, it always does…”. As he played the final notes ‘and carries us away..’ we were forced to come back to reality and left wishing he could’ve stayed with us for longer. My first experience with Dean Lewis will definitely not be my last that’s for sure.
Hold of me
Need You Now
Place We Knew
Lose My Mind
Half A Man
Time To Go
Don’t Hold Me
When You Were Young- cover
For the last time
Straight Back Down