Tim's Best Of 2003 - Prayerbabies & South of the River Community ChoirThe Greyhound Hotel, Thursday 18th December 2003
The pub was more packed than I had ever seen it, with friends and family of the thirty voice choir coming along to watch the show. They had played at another pub a couple of weeks ago, but as it fell on BBQ Day I on top of a building in Fitzroy enjoying a BBQ and live music instead.
I had not needed to bring my coat after all as it was still very warm after the past couple of days of stifling heat which had been replaced by strength sapping humidity which tested the nerves of most people.
With the bar being so I crowded, I ended up sitting on a lounge chair next to the pool table while some woman chewed the ear off her friend about her annoying boyfriend. Relief was at hand when I heard someone out the front of the pub suddenly start singing, it was the choir began a African chant and then proceeded through the bar to their position where the band was set up.
For the first few songs (traditional African initiation chant, Nelson Mandela song, Blind Boys of Alabama tune) the choir sang by themselves, but where then joined by the band the Prayerbabies.
Wow! I would have to say it is the best I have ever seen them play. Having the accompaniment of the choir gives them an energy and style that they do not have when they are playing by themselves (I had seen them quite a few times so I can confirm this.) It usually takes them quite a few songs before they can build up to the level of performance that they showed from the very first song with the choir. In particular Ian was bouncing away while singing which was very entertaining to look at.
The choir was also great in that they choreographed some of the songs and didn't just sing. (Having someone dancing off to the side always makes a song seem better.) The choir members seem to come from a variety of backgrounds which makes it more interesting to watch their performances.
Something that has never happened to me before was that I got shivers during some of the songs (must have been the high notes) and wanted to dance on the covered pool table (even though I would have fallen down.) It's a shame that this performance is only the second time they have done it live with the choir as it would be a really good traveling show.
I wish I had enough money so I could have bought their CD (which had the choir on it as well) on the night and I could have got some of them to sign it for me. I am definitely going to buy this CD (Sundee Best) after Christmas.