Concert Review: Melbourne Concert Hall, Australia, 20 April 2001

By Jordie Howell

The concert was wonderful - let me try and give you all a set list. Rodney can help me out here I'm sure as I won't be able to do this in order even though I thought I would be able to at the time.

Turning Away,
Babes in the Wood,
Speaking with the Angel,
Bless the Road,
The Shadow,
On Another Day,
Summer Sent You,
Message of Love,
Still Believing,
Flesh and Blood,
Big Trip to Portland,
Song for Ireland,
Soul Sister (with Shane Howard),
I will be there (with Pat Crowley).


Fall at your Feet,
No Frontiers,
Ellis Island,
Don't Say Ok.

I know I have left some out.

I should comment on her voice before I go on. Her voice sounded tired, and a lot of the time she was out of breath, so breathed during phrases she shouldn't need to breathe in the middle of. I found that in the second half of the concert though, she really warmed up and sang a lot better. I feel she may have had the residue of the cold she had (apparently she was on steroids for a while to help the process of recovery along). It was lovely to hear her richness again and either her voice has changed in two years, or I have just forgotten what a luxury and pleasure it is to hear her sing live.

After the concert, my Dad and I went around to the stage door to inquire about meeting Mary. We were told that she would be up in half an hour or more so we waited for a bit. Then Bill Shanley came up and said we could go down with him and a few people who were with him, so we did. We did a lot of waiting around and the various band members said hello and we chatted to them. Then Mary came out of a room and said hello, held my hand and gave me a warm hug. At first when she came out I was confused, as the nuances in her speaking voice were very different to what she sounds like through a microphone, and also different from various recorded interviews I have. I asked Mary if she wrote songs, and she said she did, but because she has access to so many good song writers, she never records them. I would personally love to have a sneak preview at some of her compositional efforts. She asked me if I sang and I told her I was doing my honours in classical voice at university, and that I was sick of the course at the moment. She told me that it would be worth it and to put in now, and also that it is hard in your last year. I said that I realised that and I am trying to do that. She said hello to my guide dog Iljin and said "hello little fella."

Mary said hello to some people and signed cds, and Dad and I just hung around in this corridor back stage with other people. I think most of them were guests of Mary's, as she has said that she has quite a few friends in Melbourne. While we were standing there, Steve Coonie came over and offered us some food... I couldn't believe that. So I took a piece of ham and told him he was a great song writer. The thing that amazed me about Steve was that, as Dad described him, he is a very rough looking person, but his guitar technique is just amazing.

I asked Mary to sign my cds and said "can I be a pain and get you to sign these" and she said, "yes you can be a pain", it was quite funny.

There was a girl there, Ruth who sang, and she sang "When you Say Nothing at All" with this 12-year-old boy playing guitar, and the band members and a few of us joined in with harmonies. Mary joked that Bill would lose his job as the boy was pretty good. Ruth was allright.

Mary's son, Conner, was also there, and I had a good chat to him. I said, "it must be strange going on tour with your mum" and he said it was. He is a really nice guy and he is 6 foot 4 apparently.

I said goodbye to Mary when she was about to leave for the hotel and she was calling Conner like any mother would call their son, and she gave me another warm hug and wished me luck with the degree. I told her I hoped she would come to Australia again soon.

On our way out, there were some more fans waiting, and Mary was very good about talking to them even though she had been surrounded by her friends and fans.

Well, that is some random thoughts after the concert. If I remember anything significant I will let you all know.

The thing I will say about Mary is that no matter how long you have known her, I think she treats people the same. I mean, whether you have seen her in concert or whether you are her friend, she takes time to ask about what you are doing and remembers what you say. I have been told this by other list members, but it is something to experiences this in person.

Lying in bed last night I remembered that Mary sang Bright Blue Rose (how could I forget) and also Forever Young as one of her Encores. I loved how she performed the chorus of this song, the strength was amazing. She'll always remain forever young.