Jason Singh kicked off his first night of the Jason Singh plays Taxiride: Hits, Bits & Beyond tour on Friday 19 March 2021 at the Arcobar in Heatherton. By his own account, on his Instagram, he's been talking about being a bit nervous after such a lengthy period of being off stage due to lockdown, but I can assure you, it didn't show. He gave it 110% and it showed! The sold-out gig #1 was a resounding success! By all accounts, the directive is that you purchase your tickets quick smart as a few shows of the tour, like this first gig, have already sold out! You can rest assured if you're a fan of good music, Taxiride, Jason Singh, or music of the '90s, you won't be disappointed.
That's the beginning and the end of the story, but let me take you on the journey - so strap on, Get Set, and We're on our way ! Just 19kms or so away from Melbourne CBD in the south-east, Arcobar sits in rather pleasant surrounds with a huge outdoor area that makes social distancing a cinch. The venue's restaurant, where Jason performed, was set up with enough flow between each table, and a great viewing vantage for the fans. Just so you know, the food and service were fabulous too.
Jason was very accessible to all his fans and supporters -humble, friendly - stopping by to meet and greet and say hello as he made his way down to the stage dressed in a pair of grey jeans and a print open neck shirt with rolled-up sleeves. Accompanying him on keyboard was fellow musician Daniel Agius with a ramped up keyboard complete with loops, left base, keys, guitar and backup vocals from Daniel. The harmonies between the two was a great blend, with Agius a pitch below the main vocal line which didn't interrupt Jason's strong vocals belting out everyone's favourites and more. As the tour title suggests, you'll hear a mix of stripped back hits from Taxiride, bits from the B side of albums that didn't really get played as often and songs from beyond Taxiride from his solo albums, plus songs from other bands that influenced his musical journey.
The tone was set for a fun night of personal stories, stories behind the songs and banter from Jason when Daniel set loose a loop and Jason quipped, that's a good start, something's working. Kicking off the 1st set with Everywhere You Go, it continued with everyone's favourites like Saffron, I Can Dream, and of course Get Set, were amongst many of the two sets of performances that was received enthusiastically, including a song from the B side which I particularly liked. Tribute was paid to Goo Goo Dolls' Iris and Tracy Chapman's Give Me One Reason, amidst the mix.
It felt like a badge of honour to be a part of the first gig of the tour, and one thing you can be assured of is that it is thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable. Jason is a warm soul blessed with good vocals that have only matured and got better with age. It's not just his music or his musicianship that you'll enjoy, but the way he engages with the audience and get's them involved with his stories - to interact and participate - whether it be echoing back lyrics or nah-nah-nah-nahs to him, or adding to the rhythm with egg shakers aka ganzá (which his Manager Claire Reynolds distributed to the tables), a hand percussion instrument.
Still wearing his youthful looks in the prime of his life and with that cheeky sense of humour, you can't help but fall a little in love with this multi-talented human/musician and his songs. Be sure to check out his tour dates and make a booking because you can't go wrong if you're a fan of the music genre. He's pure talent and entertainment. I was fortunate to have spent half an hour with Jason in an interview recently, and you can read all about it here. There was an intense amount of subjects covered and my fingers got a good workout, flying over my keyboard faster than a speeding bullet! Luckily, I type at 90 words a minute!
Be sure to hang around and say hello to Jason after the show and take home some memorabilia of the night. Jason will have a variety of merchandise and CDs for you to purchase as a keepsake of the fun night. Darn, I forgot to get him to sign my CDs! Follow Jason on his Instagram to stay updated about his tours, as he shares and logs each event like a live diary to look back on. He also has a Facebook Page if you're more of a Facebook than Insta user. If you don't know about the man, his music or his successful past when he stood on top of that mountain that is the Australian music industry with Taxiride, then it's too easy. Scour his socials via all the links given above, plus his YouTube and Twitter accounts. Just simply get out there, catch a show if the tour is coming to your state, and support our Australian musicians while having a fun night out at the same time!
An interesting snippet; the debut singleGet Set by the iconic Australian Band Taxiride, of which Jason was the original founding member, released in May 1999 peaked within the top 10 in Australia. It was also nominated for two awards at the ARIA Music Awards of 1999: 'Breakthrough Artist – Single' and 'Best Pop Release', winning the former. In 1999 it was used in the soundtrack of the 1999 film Election which starred Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. In the film, the character Tammy is in her room listening to the song. A Music Video was also released, based on the film; it featured several scenes from the film, along with Taxiride playing in a studio. In 2002, this song was used for TV advertisement for Village Cinemas in Australia. And most recently, this year, this iconic Aussie hit is featured in a Visit Victoria Campaign 22 years later. This is the kind of stock that Singh hails from, so expect nothing less than a perfectly great night out, in the company of an Aussie great, in a city near you.