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Session With the Swinger

Session With the Swinger

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Published by Anthony Read
A review of a David Campbell concert from a few years back.
A review of a David Campbell concert from a few years back.

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Published by: Anthony Read on Apr 25, 2011
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04/25/2011

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Session with the Swinger

Sapphire light floods the stage. A smooth jazz tune caresses the restless crowd. One might think we were at the famous Blue Note club in New York, but Melbourne is the place, The Palms at Crown is the venue, and we’ve gathered to see the one and only David Campbell. Min, David’s backup singer, strides on stage to do the crowd warm up, except we’re left rather chilly. Overbearing and relentless, she croons, “You’re all mine”, as she rips into another Aretha classic, forgetting those elements so crucial to jazz singing, like dynamics. And subtlety.

Yet all this is forgiven when the man himself bursts onto the stage proclaiming “It’s Friday night, and I’m feeling horny!” Campbell looks genuinely happy to see the crowd, and rapturous applause greets him as he rips into a nitro-injected version of ‘Mack the Knife’. The son of Australian legend Jimmy Barnes, he clearly has inherited his father’s talent, yet with much more panache. “This is my second show tonight”, he says, “and since then me and the band have been backstage downing some…pink lemonades.” He grins devilishly, and laughter escapes from the crowd. This is where Campbell really shines. His between song banter with the crowd is hilarious, as he tells stories of his father, his hometown (“It’s Brisbane, not Boganville!”) and the making of his new LP, The Swing Sessions.

Campbell proves himself to be a consummate performer during the course of the show, and has the audience by the throat. Raising the energy level to unbearable heights during classics like ‘Viva Las Vegas’, and bringing it right down with the Sammy Davis Jr penned ‘Mr. Bojangles’, Campbell controls the crowd like a mad Moses. Even when Campbell goes backstage, the excitement level is kept to a maximum, as the band prove their chops with an intense version of ‘Swing the Mood’. The amount of styles he covers is incredible, ranging from swing classics, to piano ballads, to extended percussion jams. Although billed as a ‘jazz crooner’, Campbell shows he has much more to offer than just Dean Martin rehashes.

Yet the highlight of the night was undoubtedly the riotous ‘Shout’. Campbell and the band had been drinking all night on stage, and their manic attitude pushed the intensity levels far beyond what the Palms could withstand. The song culminated in a rapturous singalong with Campbell on top of the grand piano, coercing the crowd to “Get up and twist!”. And we did.

Half way through the show, Campbell told the crowd “We’re not going home tonight! I’m booking out a club, and we’ll stay out all night long. Ill just tell them me…plus 800”. He loved the crowd, and that love was returned in spades. Even at closing, Campbell could be seen on top of the piano, screaming “WE’RE NOT GOING HOME!” Loose, fun, and just a little bit pissed, David Campbell provided not just a night of the swing classics, but an experience that the crowd won’t soon forget.

Document: Session with the Swinger.doc Author: I Need User Information Save Date: 25/04/2011 RMIT University Page 1 of 1

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