Live Review: Delta Goodrem at Hamer Hall

28 October 2023

“20 years have past and still one thing that lasts is these songs that we will play on tonight,” says Delta Goodrem before appearing on stage and taking a seat at her butterfly-decorated grand piano while her band begins to play an instrumental that leads into her first track Born To Try. Her vocals immediately captivate the audience.

“Welcome to the 20th Anniversary Innocent Eyes Tour,” Goodrem exclaims. The memories and nostalgia come flooding back to us and it all started in Melbourne 20 years ago with Born To Try, so it’s truly a full circle moment for both Goodrem and fans in the room tonight for the first of two sold-out shows in this city.

“It’s truly a great honour to be able to play this music for you from the beginning of the album to the end of the album – the entire album start to finish. It has connected us, and I hope to take you on a journey through your own life… to whatever it is that this album meant to you.” Goodrem asks us to imagine putting the CD or cassette in the player for us to re-visit a cartoon land of mysteries in a place we won’t grow old and a place we won’t feel cold that continues the story of the Innocent Eyes album.

Goodrem takes a moment to give us an insight into the songwriting process during making her debut album that went to number one and stayed there for an incredible seven-and-a-half-months on the Aria charts. It achieved five-number-one singles and is certified 23x platinum. She explains how the course of a song can go anywhere and sometimes when you write something, one tiny little catalyst, one little movement of a lyric or a tiny change of a chord can change the course of a direction of a song. She shares that when she was working on Neighbours, she had started piano themes of some songs but through working with other collaborating writers they could’ve almost ended up being very different. After singing the version of Not Me, Not I that we know and love, she gives us a slight snippet of an up-tempo version that could’ve been.

Throw It Away sparks some lively audience participation and Goodrem shares a kiss with her fiancé Matthew Copley who plays guitar in her band on stage tonight following a re-count of a past relationship that didn’t work out (for the best).

Track seven on the album is a song called Butterfly which is symbolic in many ways for Goodrem, it marks the halfway point of the album and halfway through the journey that took a different turn when she was diagnosed with cancer. After receiving so much support and love from around the country, she made it her mission to give as much love back as had been given to her at that time including starting the Delta Goodrem Foundation. “This song reminds me of the theme of my family. When I was a kid and at home or in hospital, I used to imagine being on stage singing songs like Butterfly, and here we are celebrating it 20 years later,” she reveals.

“When I was going back into this album and re-discovering all the different songs, I started to resonate with some differently,” she says. “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that it really is true that your life is in your own time, it doesn’t have an exact timing of what you think it will be. It is in your own time, and everyone has their own time.”

As time has gone on, she admits that one of the many things she looks back on and regrets putting My Biggest Mistake on the album, but she has a laugh and plays it for fans anyway to not interrupt her commitment of playing the album in its entirety.

This Is Not Me was a song Goodrem wrote at the beginning of her journey being a songwriter and as a singer trying to find her sound and stepping into her authentic self. She reveals it was a song written earlier on in the peace when she was trying all the different music sound hats on. She explains how she loves the concept of being on a constant journey working out who she is and what she stands for.

The set breaks up a bit with a dance and singalong for Running Away, including some fun choreography with her band members before a heartfelt song about losing somebody you love. We think of someone we may have lost and shine our phone torch lights to the above.

Delta has always had very strong connection with her fans, largely due to how much she does for them. She explains how interactions with her fans imprint on her heart and when they walk away, she’d like to always just have a minute longer to get to know them better. She brings some lucky fans on stage to sing with her on track eleven, Longer.

“What I wanted the message to be at the end of this record is ‘Will you fall for this record? Will we fall in love at the end?,’ Goodrem says. She asks us, “Will you fall for me again?” As she plays the closing album track to get us falling in love all over again hearing these tracks in a new light and re-connecting with them.

In our celebration and unity tonight, at the conclusion of the Innocent Eyes album, we’re treated to a Q&A with Delta Goodrem to give fans an opportunity to ask a burning question about the Innocent Eyes era. We learn more about her favourite tracks and behind the scenes details that shed light on the album making journey.

After a short pause, just when we think it’s over, Delta returns to the stage with her band for a 20-year medley celebration including some of her biggest hits from all of her eras including Out Of The Blue, Almost Here (featuring a heartwarming duet with her fiancé Matthew Copley), In This Life, Believe Again, Sitting On Top Of The World, Wings, and The Power.

“It’s all about the here and now and moving into new chapters with full force. I’m so grateful for this new era of life, the new music, this new song is about getting out of your head and into your heart,” says Goodrem before launching into her latest single Back To Your Heart.

A special encore of a B-side from her first ever single era called Here I Am is the most beautiful way to finish with a piano ballad that’s a very fitting anthem that has a new meaning after all these years and summarises who she is as an artist and how much she’s accomplished on her musical journey after all these years. Delta can’t help but play the song that launched her success (Born To Try) one more time before confetti cannons explode over the audience for a big finish.

Words By Michael Prebeg

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