“When he came on stage he was not much to look at” is a quote from an early critique of one of Lior’s early concerts, from a critic who had not seen him perform previously. Lior shared this quote with his audience at this performance, declaring that he doesn’t read critics. This information was rather freeing, because like that critic, I’m among those who had previously never experienced Lior in concert.
However, unlike that critic, I had seen him perform the role of the Jewish tailor, Motel, in the Anthony Warlow iteration of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, so was prepared for his appearance, which is actually rather pleasant, as is his onstage personality.
Sharing the stage with the Australian String Quartet, which provided exquisite accompaniments, Lior held the capacity audience in thrall as he worked through his song catalogue, intriguingly, changing to a different guitar for each song. Is this an affectation, or is he thinking of the fortune he’ll make selling off these guitars when inevitably he becomes an international superstar?
Lior is a fine guitarist and a gifted singer with a pure, sweet angelic voice. His songs, sensibly, exploit these talents. Gypsy Girl, I’ll Forget You, Building Ships and This Old Love all display his talent for writing haunting lyrics for his beautiful melodies. My Grandfather mines potent familial recollections in a similar way to Peter Allen’s Tenterfield Saddler, while Bedouin Song, which he proudly announced, is the only song to have been featured on Triple J – ABC FM and Australian Idol, demonstrates his success in writing cross-genre songs which appeal to a wide audience.
Not all the program was confined to Lior’s songs however, and early in he featured his cover of Radiohead’s No Surprises, the title of which was contradicted by the inclusion of a mesmerising performance by the Australian String Quartet of a Philip Glass composition, and his concluding offering, the stunning opening song Sim Shalom (Grant Peace), from Nigel Westlake’s orchestral song cycle Compassion, rescored by Westlake specially for Lior and the Australian String Quartet to perform in this superb concert.
Lior and ASQ: Love, Loss and Compassion
Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Performance: Friday 16 June 2017 – 6.30pm
For more information, visit: www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au for details.
Image: Lior (supplied)
Review: Bill Stephens OAM