Adelaide Festival

Festival Review: Ben Lee

After a prolific career spanning a quarter-century, Ben Lee is no stranger to touring and music festivals.

Lee transforms the Adelaide Festival’s expansive Summerhouse into an intimate music hall.
5

Presented by Adelaide Festival
Reviewed 3rd March 2021

After a prolific career spanning a quarter-century, Ben Lee is no stranger to touring and music festivals. He jokes that after a year without live music, “I’ve had a lot of time to think how to conceptualise my show.” While the Foo Fighters have lasers, and Ed Sheeran performs to full stadiums, Lee has decided to adopt a cassette player to accompany his acoustic guitar. He transforms the Adelaide Festival’s expansive Summerhouse into an intimate music hall.

Lee’s casual confidence and effortless banter with the audience creates a relaxed environment reminiscent of a hootenanny. He opens with crowd favourites Into the Dark, Love Me Like the World Is Ending, and Ache for You – though he also shares new work. He explains, having spent the majority of 2020 in lockdown in Los Angeles, “There wasn’t a lot to do, so I wrote a lot of new songs.” Parents Get High and Born for this Bullshit prove very popular with the audience. The tape player is an endless source of jokes, as he says with a laugh “I have to make conversation while my cassette rewinds.” He saves Catch My Disease for the encore, with both the audience and Adelaide Festival staff clapping along to the beat.

With his 2021 tour, Lee offers a new and organic way to experience his music. Anyone with an interest in Australian music, or who finds themselves tapping a toe along to his songs on the radio, will enjoy his performance.

Reviewed by Nicola Woolford

Rating out of 5: 5

One Night Only – Season Ended

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