Concert Review: Wendy Matthews and Grace Knight – We’re Going To Graceland: The Music of Paul Simon

This performance is a masterclass in how the joy and love that music brings should be shared with everyone

This performance is a masterclass in how the joy and love that music brings should be shared with everyone

Presented by: Markus Hamence
Reviewed: 1 December, 2023

Grace Knight and Wendy Matthews are such icons of the Australian music industry. Both have had countless hits that have shaped the music landscape and they are still touring non-stop to sold out venues. This weekend, they are joining forces to bring to Adelaide We’re Going To Graceland: The Music Of Paul Simon. What Adelaide audiences witnessed during their opening night performance was nothing but a night of sheer joy, love and top-class entertainment. This performance is a masterclass in how the joy and love that music brings should be shared with everyone.

Grace Knight is one of the most enduring talents in Australian music, with ARIA awards and nominations, and chart-topping recordings in each of the past three decades. Acclaimed for her live performances, Grace is one of the finest interpreters of popular music in Australia today, and is well known as the lead singer of the internationally successful band Eurogliders.

Canadian-born Australian singer-songwriter Wendy Matthews released numerous top 20 hits in the 1990s, and has multiple top 20 albums and a string of ARIA awards. Her captivating and expressive vocals connect with the lyrics and are known to move her audiences.

We’re Going To Graceland: The Music Of Paul Simon sees Knight and Matthews weave their way through the vast catalogue of Paul Simon’s incredible song book. American singer-songwriter Paul Simon quickly rose to fame when he teamed up with Art Garfunkel to form Simon and Garfunkel and the duo left a significant mark on the music industry. Paul Simon’s fascination with pop vocal sounds quickly expanded to include the magic of English folk music. 

The rapport between Knight and Matthews is infectious. It is clear they are very good friends off the stage. Their banter and interactions on stage highlighted the strong bond these two performers share. You could not help but smile as they drew you into this performance. Each in their own right are still brilliant vocalists, but it was when Knight and Matthews sang together and harmonised that the real magic happened. Knight’s soulful, warm tones beautifully complimented Matthews’ soaring voice. Their vocal endurance in this 90 minute performance was impressive, sounding as fresh at the end as they did at the beginning. It is clear that these two fine performers love being on stage and sharing their love of music with an audience — you couldn’t help but dance and clap along with them.

It’s no easy feat packing the huge catalogue of music that Paul Simon wrote into a mere 90 minute performance but Knight and Matthews managed to fit plenty of hits into their show. Feelin’ Groovy, Slip Slidin’ Away, Sound Of Silence, Late In The Evening, Bridge Over Troubled Water… the set list was a solid reminder of how Paul Simon’s music certainly shaped and left a mark on the world.

Knight and Matthews’ band was tight. Featuring Miro Lauritz on keyboard and backing vocals, Sam Lemann on guitars, Lucas Taranto on bass and backing vocals and Darryn Farrugia on drums these fine musicians were an absolute treat to listen to. I often love to sit and watch a backing band play after performers have left the stage. Watching these musos jam at the end of the final number, Keep The Customer Satisfied, was brilliant.

It was no wonder the applause for Grace Knight, Wendy Matthews and their band continued on long after they all left the stage — this is one magical performance. With two shows remaining today in Adelaide (2pm and 8pm), go and see it. It’s not every day that the music of Paul Simon is celebrated by two of Australia’s top performers. It is well worth it.

Reviewed by Ben Stefanoff

Photo credit: supplied

Venue: Regal Theatre, Kensington Road
Season: December 1 at 8pm, December 2 at 2pm and 8pm
Duration: 90 minutes
Tickets: From $59.00

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