James Reyne 'A Crawl to Now' tour Manning Entertainment Centre, Taree

Reyne and shine: Hear the familiar vocals of James Reyne in acoustic mode at the Manning Entertainment Centre, March 2, and the Glasshouse, March 3.

Reyne and shine: Hear the familiar vocals of James Reyne in acoustic mode at the Manning Entertainment Centre, March 2, and the Glasshouse, March 3.

Known for his distinctive vocals as frontman for 1980s rock band Australian Crawl, James Reyne, one of the band’s founders, has maintained his fan base through a successful solo career.

He brings the best of both worlds to our neck of the woods, in an acoustic format with guitarist Josh Owen. Fans will hear the biggest hits from, as the tour name suggests, Crawl to now, and some background on the journey and how the songs came to be.

When asked if he ever gets bored answering questions and talking about his career he says honestly: “I can think of worse things than talking about yourself, and at this age I have more to talk about, I’ve been around a long time.”

This is a very different style of concert for him. “It’s a bit more intimate. I don’t have to brain people with the power of the songs. Stillness is powerful. It’s a good way to hear them.”

Reyne says Owen has been in his tour band for four years so he knows all the phrasing. “The more you do it, it becomes instinct. In this format we get to explore the music more, go off on tangents, and if someone yells out a song, we have the freedom to mix it up.”

In a 90-plus minute show, it would be hard to cover every hit but Beautiful People, The Boys Light Up, Downhearted, Errol, Oh No Not You Again, Reckless, and Hammerhead are bound to be there. 

“You know the ones people want to hear and occasionally you put one on the bench people might want to bring back.” Reyne says he is a great believer in people coming along, having a drink and enjoying themselves. 

For Baby boomers nostalgia is an important part of living life to the fullest. The 60-year-old rocker knows he could have been dealt a different hand when in 1979 he was involved in a car accident while on his way to an appearance on Countdown. 

“I wish I knew as much about songwriting then as I do now. If someone said [to me] I’d still be doing this 40 years on, I wouldn’t have believed them. But I did believe there was something in it. We had band changes and then I did the solo thing, you just keep your chin up.” He recalls the first song he wrote was “dumb”.

Reyne says he is the worse person to ask what he might have told his younger self if he’d had the knowledge of the industry he now has. But one thing he would say is “don’t go on television shows” – meaning talent shows.

“Get where you want to go by doing gig after gig. Slog it out. A lot of it’s luck, but you have to enjoy it and stay true to yourself. Enjoy learning the craft.”

When he was young his mum took him to see Noddy and Big Ears on stage. “I remember thinking, I wanna do that.” And he was hooked on rock and roll from age 10. “I was instinctively drawn to it,”

And we are so glad he was.