Luka Bloom has visited Adelaide many times during his touring career, and it would be a safe bet to say that this year’s entranced crowd included many repeat attendees who have kept coming back for more and more of this Irish troubadour’s delightfully engrossing musical insights into life, love and the human condition.
Informally chatty as ever, Bloom regaled his devotees with anecdotal introductions to many of the songs he chose to play for this performance, giving each a topical and most often, contemporary context, no matter from which period of his musical life they had originally been drawn from.
Dedicating the first song, I’m Not At War With Anyone, to the people of Christchurch, Bloom declared his simple, humanist political views from the outset – professing that we are all one race and to act in accordance with any contrary belief is reprehensible and wrong.
From the evidence of the crowd’s instantaneous and harmonious choral vocal accompaniment he solicited during this number, it was obvious he had the ear of a large group of ideologically like-minded people.
The evening’s ‘setlist’ roamed over songs from across Bloom’s entire career, so that whilst his last album, 2016’s Refuge, was the most heavily represented on the night, long term fans were gifted with at least one or two songs from almost all of his studio albums.
Highlights were many, but Make You Feel My Love, January Blues, City Of Chicago, Tribe, and Sunny Sailor Boy were exceptional versions and brought the most rapturous applause from an adoring crowd.
There were some problematic issues with his acoustic guitars as they seemingly could not stay in tune for any reasonable period of time, necessitating many pauses for adjustments – but these moments were alleviated by Bloom’s amiable and entertaining craic.
Amongst his many wonderful original compositions, Bloom also found space to cover songs by John Martyn and Stevie Wonder – the latter by way of a playful and effective folk rap rendition of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, delivered in a similar vein to his hit re-reading of LL Cool J’s I Need Love, which, despite crowd requests, unfortunately did not get an airing during this particular show.
After playing for the best part of two hours, Bloom finished with an encore trio of Diamond Mountain, A Seed Is Sown and The Fertile Rock; then accepted an enthusiastically long and well-deserved standing ovation, tossed flowers into the crowd and left the stage – gone again until the yearning to return for a fourteenth concert tour of Australia gets too strong and necessitates another visit. And it seems reasonable to assume that there will be hundreds of Adelaideans waiting to snap up the best seats as soon as they go on sale when that inevitable return eventuates!
Luka Bloom performed at The Gov on Wednesday 3 April 2019.