I just got home from seeing Tim Minchin live at the Perth Concert Hall. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, a fucking good show.
Now, I have to be honest here, I've been a fan of Minchin for a while now, but I've never seen him perform live. I have a tendency to be cynical about live performances, having been involved in too many to really get excited about being in the audience. But this was the best, most enjoyable performance that I've ever paid to watch (and far better than most I've been paid to watch).
We'll get the fawning out of the way first: Minchin is an extremely accomplished performer, and I'm incredibly jealous that he is married to someone who so obviously fits him. I wish I could find someone who would put up with my shit as well, and top it when required. On top of that, he sings marvelously well, plays piano as good as Elton John (Tim, if you're reading this, I know you'll get the joke), and is not just a good musician, but a real, honest-to-fuck great comedian.
Right, adoration out of the way, let's get to the meat of things. He was on-stage on-time (show was listed as starting at 8pm, he was on-stage at ten-past, which is pretty good compared to many acts I've seen). He played the audience like he did his piano: with precision and skill, freely improvising, or at least giving the impression that he was doing so. Sound was good, the venue was good, everything was good.
But one thing was better. The audience. Or, rather, the make-up of the audience. No, no-one rocked up wearing mascara, black jeans, and insanely teased hair (or if they did, I didn't see them). I'm talking about the wide-ranging ages and appearance of those in the audience. I saw teenagers, through to people in their 60's. I saw blokes in t-shirts and jeans, and others in suits. I saw pregnant women and borderline goth/punks. I, of course, rocked up looking like an unreconstructed bogan, but then I like doing that, because it might make people think (and, of course, I'm somewhat of an unreconstructed bogan).
I looked around, and saw the range of people, and I was reassured. Especially given their enthusiastic enjoyment of Minchin's act (and let us not pull any punches, it basically consists of singing songs about how fucking stupid irrationalists are, using as his targets the religious, woo-merchants, and those who thrive on exploiting others). I was reassured, because this is a Wednesday night, and there were few seats unoccupied. This bodes well, in my mind, because if this performance was effectively sold out, then the others almost certainly are too, and there are a lot of people out there who share the view that irrationality is a bloody stupid thing to base your life on. And that makes me happy.
One final note: In his encore, he sang "White Wine in the Sun", a beautiful little song about family, and how religion really isn't needed for connection and love. It includes a line: "I'd rather break bread with Dawkins than Desmond Tutu".
I'd rather break bread with Dawkins and Minchin. Actually, fuck that. Let's have a couple of glasses of red, and we can ponder the fact that my brain somehow is compelled to place importance on such a meaningless coincidence as myself sharing a birthday (day, month, and year... and city) with Minchin - and that we share a birthdate (day and month) with Desmond Tutu.
I can have a dumb side too.