Incubus - Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, Friday March 9

It must be so hard for Incubus to put together their setlist when it comes time to tour. With eight albums, countless hit singles, and a myriad of amazing B-sides under their belt, it seems nigh impossible to narrow their discography down to a two hour show of greatest hits whilst also ensuring they plug newer material. This thought occurred to me as I walked through the gates of Margaret Court Arena on Friday night. Needless to say, I was eager to see what exactly the legendary band had in store.

Ecca Vandal captivated the audience with her incredible energy. I had initially thought her an odd choice for the tour support, but it all made sense by the end of her opening track. The performance was confident, upbeat, and powerful; exactly what the crowd needed to get fired up for the headliner.

 

It’s easy to understand why Incubus is such a revered and formative band. As musicians, they are all undeniably talented, and Brandon Boyd is one of, if not the best, rock vocalists of our generation. I sat at the edge of my seat the entire set, bewildered and surprised as they ticked off more and more incredible songs from their discography. Where I thought it hard for the band to compile the perfect setlist, they made it seem so easy. Classic hits like ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Drive’, ‘Pardon Me’ and ‘Nice To Know You’ elicited enormous crowd sing-alongs. Deeper album cuts like  ‘Sick Sad Little World’ and ‘Circles’ were welcome additions for the more invested fans, and the inclusion of A Crow Left of the Murder B-side ‘Pantomime’ left the superfan in me very happy.

 

With the exception of singles ‘No Fun’ and ‘Nimble Bastard’, newer material from most recent album 8 simply operated as filler between classic hits. I was saddened that nothing from 2011’s If Not Now, When? made it into the set, but you can’t win them all, and as previously stated, it must be very hard to find a place for everything in the set.

 

It was nice to see the band just having a heap of fun and taking liberties where they could. Tacking on INXS classic ‘Need You Tonight’ to end of the ‘Talk Shows On Mute’ as well as a seamless segue into Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ from their track of the same name simply showed that the band has their craft down to a very fine art and aren’t afraid to show it.

 

I’d say they’ve still got it, but they never really lost it. Long live Incubus.

 

(Photos: Bree Wallace)

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