Sydney – Monday 21 August, 2017. The Sydney Opera House honours Australian rock royalty this November when Paul Kelly takes over the Forecourt in the grandest headline performance of an illustrious career.
Kelly’s long overdue appearance on Sydney’s legendary harbourside stage follows the release of his 23rd album, with a legendary opening line-up of Grammy-winning country legend Steve Earle and Sydney’s own Middle Kids. On Life Is Fine – just this weekend declared his first #1 album – a man who has written a fair whack of this country’s soundtrack comes full circle, channelling the sizzling energy of The Messengers, his original band and one of the defining sounds of the 80s. “Kelly’s back with a record that recaptures the energy of his early days,” The Guardian declared, “and it’s packed with gems.”
His Forecourt debut caps an unforgettable 2013 residency of five sold-out Concert Halls with Neil Finn, which The Australian called “stark and sublime … a beautiful marriage from two giants of song,” and a career that spans five decades, concept albums and Top 40 singles.
Along the way, Kelly has garnered an enviable collection of awards – including ten ARIAs, a Hall of Fame accolade and an Order of Australia medal – without ever slowing. In 2010, he laid his life bare in a self-proclaimed “mongrel memoir” How To Make Gravy. In 2012, he released a song-cycle of love stories told from multiple perspectives, Spring and Fall, and in 2016 alone issued his love letter to Shakespeare, Seven Sonnets & A Song, and Death’s Dateless Nights, featuring the songs he and Charlie Owen have performed at funerals. Meanwhile, Kelly has been introduced to a new generation of fans through A.B. Original’s Like A Version cover of Kelly’s classic Dumb Things, featuring the man himself, reprised in a headline performance at Splendour in the Grass.
"Paul Kelly is a giant of modern Australia," said Ben Marshall, Head of Contemporary Music at Sydney Opera House, "a people's poet laureate examining and feeling the experiences, aspirations and problems – both large and small – of everyday Australians. He is a true artist, one who deals in honesty, even when a story is the lie that tells the truth.
"A renowned perfectionist whose star is remarkably at its ascendant now, 40 years into a life lived in public – as amply demonstrated by the magnificent Life Is Fine, confirmed in the last 48 hours as his first ever #1 album. Be there on the steps of the Sydney Opera House late this spring to witness the master storyteller at the height of his powers."