Concert Review: John Butler – The Powerstation May 16, 2021

John ButlerStaking his claim as the first international artist to perform in New Zealand in 12 months without having to go into quarantine, John Butler reminded a houseful of fans at Auckland’s Powerstation why he is Australia’s highest-selling independent artist of all time.

So, the walls are coming down and John Butler has arrived in New Zealand without his trio, but with plenty of enthusiasm…first a show in Christchurch and now this Sunday evening gathering in Auckland.

Now, your intrepid reviewer is notorious for showing up early to just about everything. So, imagine my shock, my shame, when I rocked up to The Powerstation at 8:30 pm only to find that Mr. Butler was already 30 minutes into his set.

What’s this? No opening act? An early start? Why was I not informed???

Fortunately about 1000 other fans got the message (probably found on that internet thingy) and they were in full force, the main floor already heaving and sweating as John B rocked the house.

So, myself and my friends hauled ourselves up to the balcony, licked our wounds and shook our booties.

Fortunately, 13th Floor photographer Leoni Moreland was on the ball and you can see her handywork here.

In the meantime John Butler was holding court with a plethora of instruments scattered at his feet.

In addition to songs such as Treat Yo Mama and Gov. Did Nothin’, Butler was needing to speak to the people. We heard a lengthy spoken word anti-fracking poem and later there was an extended monologue about his grandparents, his desire to want to learn to play Stairway To Heaven when he was 16 and the revelation of discovering the joys of open tuning.

John was clearly enjoying himself, sharing these heartfelt, personal stories with his fans.

Despite the fact that he was alone on stage, the set soon felt like a jam session as he stretched out during Ocean and Losing You which was followed by another “self-indulgent” (his words) story about practicing 12 hours a day for a decade.

Well, practice makes perfect, they say and with his National Steel guitar in hand, John Butler was near perfect.

The nearly two hour set closed out with Wade In The Water, a crowd pleasing Zebra and finally, a fiery Pickapart.

Pouring out into the street after and it’s not even 9pm! Now what???

Marty Duda

Click any icon to view a set of beautiful photos by Leoni Moreland.