The Whitlams with the SSO

Saw another wonderful show at the Opera House last night. This time it’s a collaboration between Sydney band, The Whitlams, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The last time I saw an SSO collaboration of this kind was a few years back with Ben Folds, but The Whitlams show was a different beast all together.

For one, we had their four-piece band on stage, hence the arrangements were more of a collaboration between the band and the orchestra, meaning that for the most part, the existing arrangements of their songs remained in tact. With Ben Folds, the orchestra was the backing band, meaning that the arrangement can be completely different to the original songs themselves. Doesn’t mean that the show was any worse, just different.

I liked that they played the album Eternal Nightcap in its entirety. I owned this album while I was at uni. It was played often, so the songs were familiar, even if I hadn’t heard them for a number of years (I gave the album away eventually). The songs Buy Now and Pay Later and Charlie No. 3 were highlights, but after the interval there was a magical arrangement for a song I’m not familiar with, called Out the Back, which tells about a surfing moment. The middle string movement was so sensual – I could see the waves lapping the shore, literally hear the seagulls calling, and almost taste the salt. It was magic, and shows how evocative an orchestra can be, if utilised in an imaginative way.

Well, here’s a taste of what I saw last night, a rendition of No Aphrodisiac.

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