LIVE REVIEW: BYRON BAY BLUESFEST 2017

The Crossroads stage lights dimmed and The Doors 1967 track ‘Light My Fire’ accompanied footage of a 22-year-old Carlos Santana and band in the middle of playing their legendary set at Woodstock in 1969. The band took to the stage and the organ intro to ‘Soul Sacrifice’ rang throughout the tent. In the following two hours the nine-piece group played classic tracks from Santana’s five-decade career including ‘Jingo’, ‘Evil Ways’, ‘Black Magic Woman’ and even Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow’.

With the daunting task of playing before Patti Smith on the Mojo stage Courtney Barnett held her own, belting through ‘Pedestrian At Best’ with intensity. It was loud raw and rough around the edges, finishing with a loud squeak of guitar feedback before launching into 'Depreston.'  

 

One of the great things about Bluesfest is that if your unable to catch an artist at a particular time, chances are they will be playing again. This was the case for UK pop singer Corinne Bailey Rae, who played both on the Thursday and Saturday nigh,t on what is her debut tour of Australia. Since releasing her debut self titled album back in 2006, Bailey Rae has played all around the world and yet alluded our shores. I caught snippets of Thursday's show, yet Saturday’s slot on the Mojo stage was where one of the biggest sing-alongs of the festival happened. The packed tent was immediately on board when she launched into the hit ‘Put Your Records On’.

 

Patti Smith and her band playing the iconic 1975 album Horses on the Thursday night and was just one of the legends on show, as there were also sets from Buddy Guy, Roy Ayers, Mud Morganfield and Ian Anderson playing Jethro Tull. The latter artist opened his set with ‘Living In The Past’, as fans comprised mostly of middle aged men were treated to classic tracks such as ‘Thick As A Brick’, ‘Songs From The Wood’, ‘Aqualung’, and the set closer ‘Locomotive Breath’.

 

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