Fresh from my Glen Hansard show, I found myself concert bound again and on the road to the Hunter Valley. It seemed impossible to believe that we were heading out to celebrate the 100th Day on the Green show. It didn’t seem like that long ago that I was sitting with my parents at Bimbadgen Estate during the first run of the winery festival shows. Day on the Green has grown since those humble beginnings. It regularly attracts top notch international acts. But for the anniversary celebrations organisers went back to their roots and assembled one of the best line-ups of Aussie talent I’ve seen in some time.
What a shame that my parents were predictably running late. I found myself looking at my watch repeatedly, calculating just how much of Boom Crash Opera I’d get to see. The answer was, just one and a half songs as I was finding my seat. I was lucky to see that really; my dad let me out of the car early, despite the protests of security, and I ran up to the gates while he was parking. They sounded superb playing two of the big hits – “The Best Thing” and “Onion Skin – and I am kicking myself that I didn’t get to see more. They’ve lost nothing over the years, except for Dale Ryder’s hair.
Thankfully there was plenty more talent on the bill. While my formative years were spent perving on Mr Ryder, my mum’s were spent drooling over Daryl Braithwaite. She was transformed back into a 16-year-old as he took the stage and delivered hit after hit. Dazza’s another of those blokes who seems to lose nothing over the years. He hits those high notes with ease and always puts on such an amazing show. Singing out “The Horses” and “Higher than Hope” with the crowd was magic.
Next up was one of our favourites, Mr Richard Clapton. Oh how we love Richard. Having said that though, after such an incredible set from Daryl, Richard’s seemed to lack a little sparkle. I knew the majority of the songs from seeing him countless times in the past, but they seemed to leave a lot of people scratching their heads. “Girls on the Avenue” went down a treat though. Even when he’s not incredible, Richard’s still bloody good.
Incredible was what we got with another my of mum’s crushes, Ian Moss. The consummate professional, adored by the masses, he delivered a stellar set packed with the hits and a few surprised. As someone who remembers buying Matchbook on cassette (my first album bought with my own money if I’m ever on RocKWiz!), I was thrilled to hear him perform “Mr Rain.” The only thing better than Mossy solo is Mossy with Jimmy. We got a little Cold Chisel reunion during “When the War is Over” which was something I’ll never forget.
Next up were The Angels, the band with the biggest question mark for me. I was well aware of the split, and had wondered just how this incarnation would feel without Doc Neeson up front. I shouldn’t have worried. Rather than feeling like a pale imitation of the original, this Dave Gleeson-fronted outfit has a new lease on life. I might be a bit biased here. I’m Newcastle-bred, and many of the first pub gigs I ever attended were Screaming Jets shows. But he is the perfect frontman for this band he clearly loves so much. He brought real energy to the hits and won over the crowd from the get go. I’ve got to tell you though, the only thing weirder than seeing your parents chanting “that bit” in “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?” is watching your American husband’s reaction to it all. The poor boy was caught completely unawares. I love that despite eight years here, every now and again Aussie culture can throw him a curveball.
Jimmy Barnes teased us with his appearance during Mossy’s set. We were so ready for him, and he delivered. Jimmy was actually the first musician I ever saw live, way back in the Soul Deeper days, and I’ve been a massive fan ever since. It was a wonderful set which spanned his entire career. He rocked hard and we loved it. I found myself on my feet more often than not, and I screamed myself hoarse. God knows how he keeps up those vocals. Mossy came back to play a few Chisel numbers and it was every bit as special as that first appearance. This time I put my camera down and just soaked it in though. Wow. Being amongst that crowd singing out “Working Class Man” and “Khe Sahn” was out of this world.
All that amazing Australian music in one day is something I’ll never forget. This is the sort of show we’ll still be talking about years later.
Image source: own photos