Brooke Fraser

Posted: April 26, 2011 in Back To The Edge, Chawn, Dan Meets Celebrities, Gigs, One More For Love

I give up.

I’m with Big Boots, looking for My Brother and His Wife at a restaurant that doesn’t exist, and we’ve given up and joined the queue. There are friends here, including Judith; who I tried to talk to as I walked past, until Big Boots stopped, turned and watched me walk into him backwards.

Right in front of Amy.

Who is a friend.

I’ve avoided embarrassment by hiding at the back. Where we’ve seen Matt & Hana. Friends! People we know! Everywhere! This is a conspiracy!

Big Boots phones Matt to say he can see the back of his head. And it hits me. (Not his head.) Matt. Hana. Amy. Judith… Christians! Which means they can only be here for one reason.

They are here… for hymns.

We’re here to see Brooke Fraser, who as most Brits know, is someone most Brits don’t know. Her voice is of Eva Cassidy calibre, and her lyrics like a Thai curry. Also, she’s a Christian. Which is ace!


For centuries Christians have penned hymns to convey the love, mystery and beauty of God; but it seems to me that there are too few Christians who can handle performers that don’t sing hymns. Which frustrates me, as a man who loves a gig and a hymn. Separately.

I’ve announced via Facebook Status that tonight is about performance! Art! Beauty! And that I want zero hymns. But, Brooke is a Christian performer… who writes hymns. I sigh. And scope out the queue with Elf eyes. They see the square-headed shape of My Brother’s head. I tell Big Boots, who dials. “I can see the front of your head! I had the back of Matt’s head, the front of yours… I nearly have a whole head!” “You still need the sides.” I add, and see Big Boots staring agape at the side of my head. “I’ve got the sides of Dan’s head!” My Brother laughs.

“That’s a deformed head.”

We get inside and find seats. I love small gigs. They’re like non-league football, where the goalie hears your abuse! I get to heckle celebrities! I have a record! It’s criminal! I got Nerina Pallot to mention the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, and the Anberlin singer to say ‘Eagle or Owl’. I even met Nerina, and chatted about her mispronounced song title. Which makes me wonder, what will I say if I meet Brooke?

“You should ask her out, Dan!”

“You reckon I should ask out Brooke Fraser?

“Yeah! She’ll obviously say no, but then you can say that you’ve asked out Brooke Fraser!” I nod, and chew on the seeds of Big Boots’ wisdom. “Actually Dan, we know a guy in Oz who actually did that.” I stare at my brother. He has a ‘no really!’ face. I stare at his Aussie wife. Who looks uninterested.

“No, really!”

“And they actually went out?”


“How was it?”



It would definitely be awkward, especially with her husband being there, and I’d probably call him ‘Hosea’ and Brooke ‘Hosea’s Wife’. Hosea’s Wife’d be all like: “Actually Dan, this date’d be better without you.” And I’d be all like: “Oh.” It’d be painful. Indelible pain. Even for a man-about-town like me!

I officially decide to not ask out Brooke Fraser. Unless she asks me to.

The support starts, and immediately sours. We decipher her in seconds. “My drummer’s telling me to do some audience participation, but I don’t know…” “Yes!” shouts the crowd, except My Brother. Who suggests an alternative.

“Don’t do it!”

She squanders her Glee Club moment with awkwardness, but I’m not worried about her. She’ll play on, if only to waste another day. “This has been tough, but let’s get through this together! Just come with me on this journey.” A square-headed voice makes me laugh.

“I’ll just wait here.”

Finally Brooke appears and bursts into surprise opener ‘The Thief’. It’s pure beauty, and not a hymn. I smile, and watch her saving the world. She admits to being a New Zealander, and unnerved by the formality of the seated British atmosphere – or ‘Britsmosph’. Fortunately for her, I’m Italian. Brooke politely asks if everybody’s had something to drink and eat. “Yes!” shouts the crowd, before Tim Henman silence provides the golden opportunity for my vocal Roberto Baggio leapfroggery.

“I’d quite like a hot dog.”

Brooke smiles.

“Quite like a hot dog. I’d quite like a hot dog too. Except my bowels are feeling a bit funny.”

I smile, and update my criminal record. I’ve made Brooke more comfortable, and given her enough goodwill to endure. A lifeline! She pulls out stripped down versions of seminal pieces ‘Albertine’ and ‘C.S. Lewis Song’ and gets us all standing for the dumm-dumm-dumm one from new album Flags, which is all about something being in the water. My Brother sings the reply “it’s radioactive isotopes” but Brooke isn’t impressed.

The encore sloth-ily arrives, and people clap obligatory claps in middle-class reverie. Getting faster reverie. Hang on. I know this clap! It’s The Oasis Camp Clap! Have all of these people been to Oasis??? They’re all Christians??? Then… then they’re all waiting for hymns???

I smile. For surely, by now we’re in the clear! The real fans win. The faithful four. I deserve to date her. We all do!

Brooke reappears and the atmosphere’s tense. My Status said zero hymns. So even one will defeat me! Brooke gives two hymnless renditions and comes to her last piece. Her swansong. Her epilogue. The rest of the band walks offstage, as she sits at the piano.

And opens her mouth.

“Now this is an old song…”

She plays a chord.

A chord I recognise. From a piano ballad! From…

I gasp.

Could it be… that devilishly beautiful track from her second album…


Time laughs at me. I look around. Everyone else is on the edge of their seats. They’re seconds away from hearing Brooke’s song called ‘Hymn’! I admit defeat. Who were we fooling? She was always going to do a hymn.

“This is Arithmetic.”

I smile.

And shout to try and get her to play ‘Scarlet’ instead.

We are leaving, but I take a look at Brooke’s pedals. They’re called Eric and Paul. The new names of my future children. My Brother and His Wife are holding hands. I smile. It’s nice to see that they’re still in love.

I am grabbed.

By Starty. Another friend. “Dan! D’you like the gig?” I’m suspicious. Starty’s never mentioned Brooke, but he has sung hymns. “Yeah, good! But random question, what stuff of hers had you heard before tonight?”

“Oh, none of her solo artist stuff.”

I smile, and buy a hot dog.



Brooke Fraser – Hymn



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