Birdsongs | Birds of Tokyo x QSO
9 September, 2023, QPAC Brisbane
Perth rock band Birds of Tokyo joined forces with Queensland Symphony Orchestra for an electrifying concert on Friday night in Brisbane.
Listening to a band in the formal setting of the QPAC concert hall was quite a different vibe from your usual rock concert! I felt myself wanting to stand up, jump around, and sing along.
Birdsongs presented Birds of Tokyo’s most-loved songs of their 20-year history, alongside newer songs, all reimagined with orchestral arrangements. Led by Ian Kenny on vocals, the band includes Adam Spark on guitar, Glenn Sarangapany on keys, Adam Weston on drums and Ian Berney on bass guitar.
The concert began with QSO performing like an orchestral overture, then the members of Birds of Tokyo came onstage, amid much cheering from the audience. They then performed their heartfelt first song, Broken Bones.
Highlights from the first half included Birds’ well-known classic songs Plans, I’d Go With you Anywhere, Circles, and Wild at Heart. Then there was the touching, tender song Kenny wrote for his son, My Darling, My Son. They woke us up with rock anthems like Never Going Back, Unbreakable, and This Fire, that had the audience clapping along and the concert hall flashing with coloured lights.
After the interval, the orchestra played Happy Birthday for Kenny, and gave him a chocolate cake! Then we heard The Greatest Mistakes, featuring QSO concertmaster Alan Smith on solo violin.
Some of my favourite moments from the second half were Kenny’s soaring vocals in Two of Us, Photo by the Lake and Mercy Arms, alongside the swelling strings from QSO. Birds of Tokyo also performed a stripped back version of Anchor, without orchestral accompaniment.
This was contrasted by explosive energy, rock vibes and dramatic lighting in Silhouettic, The Gap, Brace, and Harlequins. Then they returned to a more emotional, bittersweet feel for Good Lord, written about Kenny’s marriage breakdown.
Of course, they had to leave their best song for last! Lanterns had everyone in the packed-out concert hall singing along and waving their phone torches. This was a fun way to end the concert and light our way home.
Photo credit: Cybele Malinowski