An evening with Tim Minchin is a fast-paced, ever-changing beast that demands you keep your wits about you.
One minute you’re enjoying a laugh-out-loud stand-up gig.
The next you’re at a breathtaking full-on rock concert.
Suddenly you are in the middle of a fascinating philosophical debate about confirmation bias, heightened by social media algorithms leading to tribalism, where people are just screaming insults at each other and it needs to stop.
There are surprises, too – as in thinking it’s an intimate gig with Tim solo at the piano, until the plain black backdrop is whisked away to reveal an insanely talented band, complete with brass section, and a rather nifty lightscape and big screen set.
So, yes, there’s something for everyone. Unless, as Tim himself told the P&J Live audience, you’re a conservative Christian who came along because you liked his musical, Matilda.
That’s a demographic that didn’t fare well as Tim rather hilariously shared his view of life, the universe and everything at the Aberdeen venue as he kicked off his UK Back Encore Tour 2021.
Music is bedrock of what Tim Minchin does
Music is the bedrock of what Tim does. That’s why the tagline for the tour is “Old Songs, New Songs, F*** You Songs.”
They ranged from the silly hilarious – who knew you could make an eight-and-a-half minute rock opera out of a love of cheese – to the skewering hilarious – cataracts cured by the power of prayer? Sure they were.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Let’s not forget Tim is a masterful musician/composer and probably one of the best and most intelligent lyricists working today. Matilda is in the Guinness Book Of Records for all the awards it scooped.
Among the funny, thought-provoking, satirical numbers sat haunting ballads that spoke to love, loneliness and separation. The Absence Of You is a hymn to these plague days when, as Tim put it, the world fell over.
Between numbers, the Aussie had an easy and charming, rapid-fire rapport with the audience that kept the laughter coming. There was a running and hilarious theme with his “glossary of terms” to make sure all the millennials and folk who hadn’t been to LA were up to speed with what he was singing about.
Glittering intelligence is on show
Of course, we know what a Subway sandwich is, ditto Viagra. It’s just linking the two together that hadn’t occurred to us.
It wouldn’t be a Tim Minchin gig without a venture into logical philosophy, from a throw-away line about why our sense of self is an illusion, to the laudable point that calling people you don’t agree with nasty names shuts down any hope of making the world a better place.
High concepts to be sure, but they sit naturally in the context of what Tim does. There’s a glittering intelligence behind his “output” that leaves you thinking you’re watching genuine genius at work.
He rounded out his show with a blues-driven number about what he wants his epitaph to be.
It was called Talked Too Much, Stayed Too Long. It was obvious from the rapturous standing ovation and cheering demands for more at P&J Live that he did neither.