There’s no better way to celebrate the first day of Autumn by soaking yourself in a flush of nostalgia under a red-hot electric blue Mt Cotton sky. It was blast from the past on Sunday as I Know Leopard entertained the early arrivals. They had the crowd wined and dined with their 70’s style groove, all very talented instrumentalists they finished the set off with the hit from their 2019 album ‘Love Is A Landmine’.
A special mention was made over the speakers during the set break about the importance of supporting Roadies4roadies day on Sunday 5 April. As Jon Stevens eloquently put it “Road crews are the heart and soul of the Australian music industry,” so get out and show your support in April – check out the website for more details.
DJ Grand Master Baitz, a regular feature at ADOTG, had the tunes ripping between sets. Pseudo Echo, as always looking stylishly Melbourne (but perhaps a bit overdressed for the heat!) took to the stage next. Brian Canham decked out in a flamboyant gold suit, snake print shirt flanked by his keytar players Matty and James who style-harmonised with Canham perfectly in black and animal print accessories.
Pseudo Echo were straight into it and had the crowd dancing and cheering from the opening note. Dedicating ‘A Beat For You’ to all the teenage girls from the 80’s (yes there were a few present) into the oldest Pseudo Echo song ‘Living in a Dream’, ‘Listening’, a dedication to Tina Turner on ‘Nut Bush’, ‘Love an Adventure’ and of course ‘Funky Town’ had the crowd going wild. It’s no surprise Molly Meldrum loved having them on Countdown almost every other week in the early 80’s they have great energy and those everlasting synth-pop classics – keep them coming.
Rick Astley opened with ‘Together Forever’, followed with his rich vocals on ‘Beautiful Life’. His band were great with special mention to the 80’s styled acid wash denim-wearing backup singers whose vocal and dancing talents were warrior princess-meets-angels by my side-esque. Rick jokingly kicked himself for wearing his skintight black jeans and blazer as he melted under the Gold Coast sun. ‘She Wants to Dance’ with me a popular song choice as well as a few of the newer hits he wrote in his Man Cave after turning 50.
Astley joked about his Gen Y daughter begging him not to perform their next track which was a Mashup of Calvin Harris and Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’ with his own ‘Take Me To Your Heart’, he did it no wrong at all with the help of his awesome backup Angels.
Of course, there wasn’t going to be a show without his No 1 hit and Rick was never gonna let us down as he bid farewell with ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.
A-Ha keyboardist Magne Furuholmen welcomed us back to 1985 after surprising the crowd by opening with their biggest hit ‘Take On Me’. Magne let the audience know they would be playing their album ‘Hunting High and Low’ in full in order. Following that order in Scandinavian efficiency singles ‘Train of Thought’ and ‘Hunting High And Low’ were naturally delivered next. Morten Harket’s beautiful vocals on ‘Hunting High And Low’ illustrated his great range, untainted by the decades. A-ha are essentially a rock band who had a dalliance with drum machines. Pal Waaktaar-Savoy has an impressive collection of guitars which he played masterfully. The chemistry between the trio feels methodical but it mysteriously comes together to create a weighty feeling.
Arguably one of their best 80’s singles ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’, was seriously next level. The crowd were mesmerised by the light show and the brilliance of that track. It was an interesting experiment playing an entire album in full – everyone who is a fan knows what’s next, but it worked beautifully. There were a few in the audience who seemed perplexed by it all but went along for the ride. After the album was finished Magne told the audience that was the end of 1985 and to get their phones out to light up the night as they played a cover of ‘Crying In The Rain’.
The a-ha Bond theme song ‘The Living Daylights’ got the audience in a singalong as they closed the evening at Sirromet. After a thirty-four-year absence from our shores a-ha promised to be back again soon – if we’d have them? Judging by the response of the large numbers of a-ha t-shirt wearing fans – takk for at du kom we want more!
Image credit – Sonia Bettenelli