His early success, and now his long sunset. His brief peak in 1971 and now everyone wants him to play That Song. He talks a lot on stage. Like a sad old man in a pub, except the audience has paid to listen to him. He tells us stories, drops some names. He has had to become a performer. Once he was going to change the world. When you are a performer, you have to get the baby boomers to sing along, and you have to ‘play it like you mean it’ – when you don’t really mean it, because this is, in his estimation, the 15th-20th tour of Australia. He told the audience they had a paid a lot of money, so he and the band would play it like they meant it.
He is polite, but the audience can hear the bitterness. At MP3s, at music these days, at the youth these days. And he keeps talking about That Song. Everything is dated by it, and if he’s not mentioning it directly, he’s hinting at it obliquely. He’s 65 now, and he said he imagines he’ll do this for another five years. His stories, they were trying to explain to the audience why he had done what he had done. An account of how he had spent his life. But it wasn’t to the audience, it was part of the inner struggle to keep his chin up, pull out that guitar, night after night, in the long sunset.