It’s not every day you see one of your favourite artists perform in a church. When it was announced that Rick Price’s only Melbourne show would be held in the St. Catharine’s Anglican Church in Caulfield South, I was a little taken aback at first but I imagined that the acoustics in such a venue would be more than adequate and, when you think about it, many of Rick’s songs do have a bit of ‘spirituality’ about them. So I was beginning to get used to the idea and I was anxious to see exactly what the night had to offer.
As anyone who has been in a church would know, pews don’t make for the most comfortable seating. With this in mind, cushions were provided to make everyone as comfortable as possible. There were also a few tables set up at the front of the church for the lucky few who were able to secure one. At the back of the church, refreshments were available at modest prices including tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine and some snacks. They were certainly going all out to keep the fans happy. The front of the church was adorned with candles, creating an atmospheric glow.
There was a short set by Rick’s support act for the night ‘Follow – St. Catharine’s Band’ featuring Minister Heather Centrangalo on vocals. They did a great job warming up the audience before Rick hit the stage. It was Heather’s idea to have Rick Price sing at the church. A long-time fan, she could envisage Rick singing there. “I thought the church would be a nice venue,” she told me. “I thought I would just write to him and ask if he’ll be interested but I wasn’t really expecting a response. But I thought I’d put it out there. The worst thing that could happen is I don’t hear back or he says no, but he said yes! I didn’t know how he would feel about playing in a church. I still don’t know really. It was a bit of a gamble. But a lot of his songs have been in line with what we’re about as a community.”
And so, here he was. Rick Price singing in the church and what a breathtaking performance it was! He came dancing into the church, playing a ukulele and singing which seemed to take most of the audience by complete surprise. With no backing band, he then stood at the front of the church, bathed in the warm, atmospheric glow of the candles around him. Then, strumming his guitar and, at one stage, playing the piano but otherwise unaccompanied, Rick carried us away with his magnificent vocals and songs from the heart. He performed tracks from his yet to be released album, ‘Tennessee Sky’, including his latest single ‘Work That Fire’, and gave us a taste of what we could look forward to; more beautiful songs sung to perfection. Of course, he also sang a few of his biggest hits like ‘Not a Day Goes By’, ‘Only Heaven Knows’ and a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’.
There were a few surprises as well. For those who aren’t aware, Rick’s album ‘Tennessee Sky’ is being produced with the support of his fans through a PledgeMusic campaign. As part of this campaign, people contribute money towards the production of the album and, in addition to being a part of the record making process; they also have the opportunity to receive other rewards. One of those rewards is the chance to sing on stage with Rick and a couple of members of the audience that night had the honour of doing just that. John did a brilliant job when he joined Rick for ‘River of Love’ and Rebecca was thrilled to share vocals with the singer on ‘Fragile’, giving a very impressive and moving performance. Rick was also later joined on stage by Steve who told the story of how he had wooed his wife with the John Denver song ‘Lady’ (the connection being that Rick had portrayed Denver in a stage performance a few years ago and sang this song). As it happened, this was actually Steve’s wife’s 50th birthday so Steve shared the stage with Rick to serenade his wife with that song. It was moments like these that added a very personal touch to the night and made the hundred or so people who were lucky enough to be there, feel like they were part of something very special. And they were. I have always felt that Rick Price has one of the best voices in the business; smooth as silk, emotive and, well, one of those rare voices you never tire of hearing. And the unique and intimate atmosphere of the venue made it even more enjoyable.
I’m so pleased that Heather took that gamble to ask Rick to play there and so glad that he said yes! It was an honour to be a part of it.
by Sharyn Hamey
See more great photos from Rick's show here
If you would like to learn more about Rick’s PledgeMusic campaign and perhaps be a part of the making of ‘Tennessee Sky’ yourself, click here