Soaked in rich melodies, cathartic emotions, and coming-of-age themes, Gretta Ray’s debut album ‘Begin To Look Around’ was an impressive and deeply honest affair. But due to the ongoing pandemic, the Melbourne based singer-songwriter wasn’t able to bring the album to the live-stage, the way it deserved. 10 months on and she has finally hit the road to sing these songs loud with her passionate fans who are ready to feel all the emotions with her.
Kicking off the tour in Brisbane with a sold out show at The Outpost, the crowd packed into the venue with their enthusiasm to sing loudly showcased early in the night when Taylor Swift’s ‘Style’ played moments before Gretta made her way onto the stage for opening track ‘Passion’. “Welcome to the Begin To Look Around Tour” she dramatically professed to the crowd who obviously encouraged the theatrics. Segueing straight into songs like ‘Unwind’, ‘Readymade’, ‘Cherish’, ‘Radio Silence’, ‘Human’ and ‘The Brink’, she showcased the journey she has been on with listeners to date. From the intimate moments to the upbeat pop ones, one thing stays consistent, and that is her strong storytelling. Behind very track is a vivid unravelling of emotions. It’s the thing that pulls listeners in and has them feeling so strongly connected to her. For me, it’s the song ‘The Cure’. It gets me every time. She explained it to the crowd as a positive song compared to the heartbreak that circles the rest of the record. And it is a song that signals hope. It’s a song that acknowledges the hardships, but also recognises that there is a light in the distance. There is a real sentimental emotion to it which is conveyed even more thoroughly on the live stage.
Entering the stripped back portion of the show, she acoustically performed an unreleased track titled ‘Dear 17’, which poignantly played as a letter to her younger self forewarning her of what was going to happen over the next couple of years. Segueing straight into her piano led cover of ‘Vienna’, she then played another cover with her full live band, which happened to be her euphoric Like A Version cover of Gang Of Youths’ ‘The Deepest Sights, The Frankest Shadows’.
With the energy lifting again, she capped it all off with the three biggest singalongs of the night with ‘Bigger Than Me’, ‘Drive’, and ‘Love Me Right’. As she walked off stage a chant broke out for her to come back and perform one more song, so she did. Acoustically playing ‘Unexpected Feeling’ from her 2016 debut EP ‘Elsewhere’, this encore was truly for her longterm fans. The ones who were crowding the front row and singing every word back to her. After all, this tour was for them. It was a longtime in the making, and without them persisting it may have never happened.
The ‘Begin To Look Around Tour’ was a celebration of emotions, music, and how far Gretta Ray has come as a performer and as an artist. Her stunning debut album is just as impressive as her live show, and compliments the youthful energy and rush you get from listening to the record. It was one of those rare live shows where you find yourself wide awake and staring at the ceiling because you are so buzzed from adrenaline after it, which is the highest form of flattery.
Check out the full gallery captured by Phoebe Hudson Photography BELOW;
Photos by Phoebe Hudson
Gretta Ray Australian Tour
Wednesday 8 June – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Thursday 9 June – Corner Hotel, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*
Thursday 16 June – Jive, Adelaide
Saturday 18 June – Freo Social, Fremantle