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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

IN PHOTOS: Dan Sultan brought Nashville to Australia for the night

Dan Sultan opened for Vance Joy’s “In Our Own Sweet Time Tour” at the Ryman Auditorium.
Barrie Barto
Dan Sultan plays at the Ryman, as photographed on Sept. 2, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

After deciding to study abroad in Australia next semester, I’ve been searching for artists whose music I could see live while there. I stumbled across artist Dan Sultan, an alternative rock powerhouse hailing from Melbourne. Lucky for me, Sultan spent two nights in Nashville playing at the Ryman as support for fellow Aussie, Vance Joy. I attended the second night, which was extra special because it was also the last night of Joy’s “In Our Own Sweet Time Tour.” 

When Sultan walked on stage at 8 p.m. CDT, fans started cheering. Instead of immediately playing a song, Sultan took his first few minutes on stage to interact with the audience and share his story. 

“Oh wow! The Ryman! Hi everybody, my name is Dan, Dan Sultan,” Sultan said. “I’m a friend of Vance’s from Australia. It’s my last show with Vance and his team, and to play at a beautiful place like this … it’s pretty mind-blowing. So thank you to Vance Joy.”

After joking about how if he didn’t stop talking, he wouldn’t have time to perform, Sultan began with an unreleased song. He had written this just one week prior for his children who were at home. The lyrics had messages about coping with the complexities of loneliness as time passes. From the first song, the audience resonated with Sultan’s powerful voice and raw lyrics as multiple fans sitting near me commented about how much they were enjoying his set. 

Sultan continued with another two songs before taking a few minutes to speak with the audience. He described performing for us as a “beautiful thing.” After witnessing his talent, I couldn’t agree more. 

He continued with “Wait In Love” and “Tarred and Feathered.” The latter he described as a song that Willie Nelson would’ve rejected in the ‘70s, but Sultan thought was good enough to record. 

Sultan began speaking with the audience again, leaving everyone laughing after commenting on Nashville slang. 

“Is it you all or y’all?” Sultan said. “It’s good to be singing it for all of you, as we say in Australia.”

He continued with his songs “Boats,” “Old Fitzroy” and “Kimberly Calling,” taking time to explain each song’s story before playing them. The story of “Old Fitzroy” was especially touching — Sultan wrote it about finding his grandmother’s grave years after a long separation from his family. Sultan ended his nine-song set with “Come Home Tonight,” which had fans clapping and dancing. The song was well suited for Nashville as it had a boot-scootin’ western tune.

With each song throughout the set, it became clear how much Sultan’s music resonated with the audience. His vulnerable lyrics and raw acoustic tones struck a chord with even those who were unfamiliar with his songs. From the standing ovation provided as he left the stage, it is clear that his timeless voice and style will have us listening long after Saturday night. As for me, I’ll hopefully hear him perform live again in Australia soon.

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About the Contributors
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Editor-in-Chief
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with neuroscience and communication of science & technology minors in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. When she's not strolling around campus with her camera, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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