Entertainment and Arts

for King + Country Shine on Australian Tour

By: Justin Rouillon 

“It was venues like these that we were thinking about when we dreamt up this tour,” Luke Smallbone shares backstage before the last show of for King + Country’s tour down under. 

The band’s Homecoming Tour has seen brothers Luke and Joel and their entourage visit ten cities across Australia and New Zealand.

And while the tour can’t be seen as anything other than an overwhelming success, Luke also mentions that they were warned about not dreaming too big in the early planning stages.

“We were reminded that not filling this size of venue [Brisbane Entertainment Centre] was what got Dad into trouble” says Luke, referring to his father David Smallbone, who was the Australian promoter for Amy Grant’s 1988 ‘Lead Me On’ Tour.

That tour lost David half a million dollars, and saw the Smallbone family relocate from Sydney to Brisbane, and then in the early nineties to Nashville in the USA.

Above: Playing to a full house in Brisbane. (Credit: Josh Woning)

The film Unsung Hero, released in Australian cinemas last week to coincide with the tour, tells the story of that journey, the trials and struggles faced as a family of eight (and soon to be nine) move halfway across the world in search of a new beginning.

Not Just Another Show

Once for King + Country take the stage in front of almost 10,000 fans, it becomes obvious that this isn’t just another show for Joel and Luke. Like the name suggests, it’s clearly a homecoming that’s not just sentiment, with over 120 extended family members in the audience.

But this show is also a full circle moment, with Joel telling a packed house that this was the very room that Amy Grant played, that subsequently turned the Smallbone’s world upside down.

Beginning the show with an amped up version of their 2021 hit Relate, the boys then powered through Fix My Eyes and Fight On, Fighter.

The production values are epic and the band is tight, a testament to the current standing of for King + Country in the Christian music scene.

Australian Christian music fans have not seen a show on a scale like this since Easterfest pulled up stumps almost a decade ago.

Above: for King & Country perform ‘Unsung Hero’. (Credit: Josh Woning)

In the five years since the boys were last in Australia, for King + Country have cemented themselves as heavy hitters in the Christian music industry, but for all that success, Joel and Luke have remained as down to earth as ever.

There was a real air of gratitude and thankfulness on display with Joel telling fans at a Q & A ahead of the show, that they are so appreciative of the love and support they have received.

“We still very much see ourselves as Australians, and as Australian artists. We see ourselves as representing this great land.

“This could be one of the most defining nights of our time as musicians.”

“Coming home, when you haven’t been here in five years, and you’re so excited to see everyone, and you’re bringing your family, and you’re celebrating your 40th birthday down here, and you’re releasing a movie about your parents and your family’s story in one of the most pivotal moments of our family history; there’s just so much happening.”

“You might have just a weepy mess of a for King + Country tonight.  This could be one of the most defining nights of our time as musicians.”

A 10,000-Strong Singalong

As the band worked their way through their extensive catalog, highlights included Unsung Hero, sung for their parents in the audience, an acoustic bracket featuring Shoulders and the Michael W Smith classic Place in This World, as well as a 10,000-strong singalong to God Only Knows.

Not even a technical glitch halfway through the show could put a damper on the band’s spirit, or the crowd’s energy.

As the final strains of John Farnham’s anthemic You’re the Voice and for King + Country’s version of Little Drummer Boy faded away, 10,000 fans were sent into the night knowing they’d seen a couple of Aussie lads at the peak of their musical powers, and at the top of their game.

Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait too long for another homecoming.

Article supplied with thanks to 96five.

Feature image: For King & Country play to a packed Brisbane Entertainment Centre, a crowd of almost 10,000. Photo by Josh Woning.

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