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Taken from The Sydney Morning Herald (Feb 08, 2019)

Missy Higgins and John Butler bring Aussie rock down to earth

Coming Home Tour
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, February 7

by Nicole Precel

Missy Higgins. Credit: Rick Clifford

Missy Higgins coughs at her keyboard as a golden glow nestles on the crowd in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

"There has been a lot of snot, that's what it's like when you tour with kids," she says.

Despite being sick, the 35-year-old singer-songwriter's voice has a beautiful airy quality to it. She opens the show with Sugar Cane and commands the eclectic crowd with hits that span a 20-year career including Scar, Ten Days and The Special Two.

At just 35, Higgins already has a 20-year back catalogue. Credit: Rick Clifford

Things have changed for both Higgins and John Butler since their last national tour together nearly 15 years ago. Their careers have been closely intertwined; she was supporting him at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion the night her debut single Scar hit number one.

"That's my mothers' group over there," she says; they jump up and scream. "I said I'd be able to find you in the crowd because you'll be the ones with wet patches over your boobs."

She jokes about not being very "rock and roll" any more after a text from her husband, Dan Lee, asking about their daughter's bowel movements.

Higgins moves between ukulele, guitar and keys, performing Song for Sammy and Futon Couch from her fifth studio album, Solastalgia, before finishing with Steer.

John Butler. Credit: Rick Clifford

Butler does a moving acknowledgement of country before the stage is flooded in purple light for Tahitian Blue.

His five-piece band is tight, each musician providing layered harmonies amid smokey mist and white lights, three drummers delivering anthemic bolts as Butler slides around on his 12-string guitar.

The lights fade, the audience whistles. His performance of Oceans sets them into a trance, eliciting a standing ovation. One fan is standing in the aisle, crutches hanging from his cheering arms.

Fans clap, scream and dance through Better Than, Betterman, Flesh and Blood, Faith, Funky Tonight and Zebra.

Butler shares the story of Coffee, Methadone and Cigarettes, a song about the trauma his family endured after his grandfather died fighting bushfires in Western Australia.

"Do you feel like singing?" Butler yells as they close out their set. "It doesn't have to be pretty - but it has to be loud ... We have to be quick or we'll get a $70,000 fine."

The crowd claps and sings along to Butler's familiar songs but it's the band's incredible musicianship that captures our attention.


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