ARIA Award-winning Australian music legend, Russell Morris, joins forces with a 54-piece orchestra for The Real Thing Symphonic Concert tour.
This symphonic reimagining of Russell’s beloved hits Brisbane this December. The tour has already left a trail of sell-out shows behind as it has rock and rolled its way through Australia this year. The tour wraps up in Brisbane on 9 December at the Brisbane Exhibition and Entertainment Centre. QNews caught up with Russell for a chat ahead of his final show in our riverside city.
Russell Morris, an Aussie Pop-Rock legend
No stranger to pushing musical boundaries, Russell’s 1969 debut single The Real Thing clocked in at a whopping six minutes and forty seconds. This was a completely unheard-of duration for Australian pop and rock at the time. A feat that only The Beatles had successfully pulled off with Hey Jude just one year prior. The Real Thing then went on to reach number one in Australia, Chicago, Houston, and New York City. From there, Russell’s status as an Aussie music legend was solidified. Now, over 50 years later, Morris has pulled off another legendary musical masterpiece with The Real Thing Symphonic Concert tour.
“It’s been amazing!” Russell says, discussing his venture from a traditional four-piece band into the symphonic concert touring across the country. [It’s like] all of a sudden someone said to me ‘I’ve got a Ferrari that you can drive for a while if you’d like,’ and that’s what it feels like. Like I’m being carried around in the litter by some strong people, and it’s really an incredible feeling and I have been loving it. The only disappointment was Molly couldn’t come.” Russell expressed, speaking about Aussie music and LGBTQ+ icon, Molly Meldrum – Russell’s first and long-running manager. “He just wasn’t well enough,” Russell continued, referring to Molly’s ill-health after a ladder fall in 2011, and having just celebrated his 80 birthday in January this year.
“We’ve not failed to have a standing ovation!”
These are the words Russell humbly spoke as he relayed details of the national tour so far. “Last week in Sydney was just amazing. You know how the orchestra stamps their feet to applaud. Well, the audience started doing it too.” Russell says, talking about the Southern Cross Symphony’s 54-piece orchestra and the 10-person band that joins him on stage each show.
“If you like my songs, that’s great! But go along and hear it because of the talent of the orchestra and the talent of David Hirschfeld’s arrangements.” Russell says, clearly in awe of the powerhouse of talent that has allowed this show to come together. With a specific mention to the award-winning composer, David Hirschfelder. The musician and composer famous for creating the scores for such Aussie classics as Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom and Australia, as well as The Dressmaker, The Water Diviner, Shine and Elizabeth.
“David’ Hirschfelder’s arrangements, they’re not like some of the rock bands you see.” Russell continued. “One song in particular, I said to David, ‘Did you channel Stravinsky for this song?’ and he said, ‘I can’t believe you asked me that, I went total Stravinsky.’ And it’s just… some of the stuff, you’ll be amazed!”
Lastly, Russell spoke on the audience’s reception and how even just the overture blows him (and the audience) away. “Before it all starts, we have this big incredible piece that David has written and I’m usually peeking through the curtains or through a gap. I’m watching the crowd’s faces and it’s wonderful to watch their faces. They look, and then they look at each other and smile and elbow each other because it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger, then all of a sudden. BANG! And in we go. It’s just wonderful.”
The Real Thing Symphonic Concert
Finally Russel makes his way back to his current home city, Brisbane. After sell-out performances across Australia, Russell Morris’ The Real Thing Symphonic Concert is guaranteed to be a great night out. Whether you’re a fan of Russell Morris, symphony orchestras, or even just a fan of spectacle, you won’t be disappointed. Coming to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre 9 December, this is a live music event not to be missed. Russell’s words to Brisbane ahead of the concert are “I would just like everyone to see it because who knows? It may not happen again.”
Tickets are selling fast and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.