Tuesday may have been April Fool’s Day, but John Butler Trio’s Melbourne leg of the Flesh And Blood Tour was certainly no joke.

Playing at the Palais Theatre on St. Kilda’s shores, the 39-year-old – who was celebrating his birthday that night ­– along with bandmates Byron Luiters and Grant Gerathy (“G-money on drums y’all!”) played a powerful and inspirational set.

Emma Louise, an up-and-coming songwriter and the support act for the night, played a collection of intimate songs. Keys and percussion accompanied the petite Cairns musician, who sang direct from the heart. The depth of her tracks made for a haunting yet beautiful set.

Dressed in a pair of colourful pants and a white blouse (“my guitar totally goes with these pants”), it was evident why many Australians are loving the artist’s music right now. The singer-songwriter ended the set with her powerful hit ‘Jungle’, met with extensive applause.

Doused in red light, the John Butler Trio opened the show with ‘Revolution’. The inspiring number was paired with visuals of protests from across the decades, emphasising the song’s powerful message to “stand up ‘cause enough is enough”.

The ever-so-humble John Butler encourage the crowd to stand up for their rights, the artist being a strong advocate for equality and justice in Australia. Constantly thanking the crowd for being there, the frontman said, “It’s a dream come true to play to you in this beautiful venue. We as the trio feel honoured to have you here in this experience.”

The set powered on through a number of outstanding songs from their latest album, Flesh And Blood. Latest single ‘Only One’ was almost flawless, with Butler’s musicianship on full show. The energy shared between the three men on stage was contagious to the point where it was hard to avoid tapping and grooving along to just about every song. In particular, ‘Spring To Come’ and ‘Cold Wind’ were stunning, paired with visuals of trees.

For ‘Young And Wild’, the singer invited musician Ainslie Wills to accompany him, which proved to be vibrant and refreshing. Tracks from 2007’s Grand National were also performed, in particular ‘Better Than’ – which received an outstanding response.

The trio would mix up the arrangements a little to throw the audience off, but when Butler was left alone on stage, everyone knew what he was going to play. “If I had no words to say to someone, I’d probably just play this song to them,” he said. And with that, the artist kicked into the epic acoustic number ‘Ocean’.

The room was dead silent for the 12-minute song. Building and building up, when Butler ended on the highest crescendo, the audience jumped to their feet for a standing ovation, some even wiping tears from their eyes. Whilst being applauded, his bandmates brought out a cake laden with sparkles; a massive chant of ‘Happy Birthday’ soon followed.

“Now would be the time the audience got off their bums, don’t you think?” Butler and his sensational pals ended the show with a mass singalong of the 2004 hit ‘Zebra’. “Let me here you say hey-EY!” was recurring, and audience participation was at an all time high.

After applauding for what seemed like a century, the band returned to the stage for an encore that comprised of ‘Livin’ In The City’ and the raucous ‘Funky Tonight’, a song that even had those as old as 70 moving and grooving.

Entering the Palais feeling a little chilly and exiting what felt like a sauna, it was perfectly clear why the John Butler Trio are one of Australia’s most loved acts. With an audience ranging from the age of eight to 80, it was inspiring to see how one band can influence so many across a broad spectrum – and will no doubt continue to for years to come.