Hanlon’s Christmas tour has been a regular event for 14 years and it was evident that many in the sold-out audience had made it an annual tradition.
The set list was plucked from throughout his career, with requests happily accepted.
“There’s no real plan, you guys are being ripped off,” Hanlon said, but no one agreed with him.
The crowd sung along with songs like All These Things and I Wish That I Was Beautiful For You, although it was more of a respectful murmur given the nature of the show.
In a show full of audience interaction, Hanlon had them roaring with laughter as he spun yarns between songs.
Even the banter was material worthy of being put to music. A close call with fruit fly inspectors while selling illicit mangoes in Broken Hill just needs three chords and it’s there.
It was a day of record heat, with Hanlon well-acquainted with the hot conditions gripping many parts of the country during his tour.
“You guys have risked life and lung to come out today,” he told the crowd as he opened the show. “It’s like Armageddon out there.”
Given the temperature, a beer made for the tour, the Yule Do Brew, was a popular drop over the bar.
“I definitely made too many of them,” Hanlon said, as he took a big sip halfway through the set.
There were some extra gifts in the stocking.
Jen Cloher got up and performed two of her own songs, with Hanlon backing on vocals and guitar.
She joked that one of Hanlon’s latest songs about catching a freight train, all 25 verses of it, was long enough to be in Guinness World Records.
There was also a choir, fittingly one that had formed in a North Fitzroy vintage shop, that joined in for two songs, including Modern History.
Tom Cowie is a journalist at The Age covering general news.