Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow is a man of many talents. He can play multiple instruments and has the voice of a god.
He’s also incredibly funny when things don’t go to plan, as the Opera House audience discovered on Tuesday night. A malfunctioning keyboard for the first few songs was no match for McMorrow’s sharp banter, “Of course this happens at the goddamn Sydney Opera House!”. With a quick fix from one of the technicians, the show was back on the road.
We were treated to a range of songs from each of McMorrow’s three albums, and the hall was full with emotion. The woman behind me was sobbing within the first falsetto notes of opener ‘Red Dust’, and audible gasps were heard as McMorrow showcased his impressive vocal range in songs such as ‘We Don’t Eat’.
A highlight of the set was ‘Rising Water’, a strong synth-tinged track from We Move. McMorrow danced across the stage in an awkward-yet-endearing way while his band bopped along in unison. One audience member in the box seats was particularly excited by this, clapping loudly along with the drums with a grin that made me want to join him.
For a seated concert at the incredibly formal Opera House, McMorrow sure knew how to get us to move. His well-known cover of Steve Winwood’s ‘Higher Love’ was an obvious favourite that had people singing along, reinforcing how good he is at engaging what should’ve been a pretty docile audience. Encore track ‘Cavalier’ ended the show on a fittingly strong note, leaving me and the rest of the audience wanting more.
Even if Irish folk singers aren’t usually your thing, I’d definitely recommend you make an exception for this one.