Aptly named Victorian band Magic Dirt opened up the second last show of the Blood Moon tour in the Magic Mud at Sirromet with their steadfast, voltage-laden heavy rock.
Birds of Tokyo took to the stage as the sun popped its head out and cleared the skies for most of their set. Cranking early with the spacey synthesizer opening of ‘Empire’ – lead vocalist Ian Kenny dedicated this politically driven track to all who are fed up with the way things are. Dedicating ‘Good Lord’ to all the dreamers, the Birds reflected that all good things must come to an end as they launched into their smash hit ‘Anchor’. Kenny told the crowd to forget about it being a wet afternoon and to cut loose as drummer Adam Weston had the guns blazing in a Suzi Quatro sleeveless tee – rocking the band into ‘Wild at Heart’ followed by ‘Unbreakable’ – a dedication to all the amazing firefighters. Birds of Tokyo were brilliant as they closed the set with ‘Lanterns’, igniting a sweet singalong.
Grand Master Flash introduced Sarah, the CEO of Foodbank onstage as the roadies busied themselves setting up for Chisel. Sarah thanked the crowd for supporting the important work they do in providing over 210,000 meals across Australia every day to families and individuals in need.
The build-up to Chisel’s arrival on stage was almost countdown-like, as the sunset and the blood-red stage lights had an amazing effect with the rain drizzle dancing through them. The familiar opening guitar chords of Ian Moss on ‘Standing on the Outside Looking In’ had the audience in an instant swept off their muddy feet and out of their wet chairs.
There was no doubt in anyone’s mind after that opening number that Cold Chisel are still a high-powered, high energy band. Moss stoked this fireball of energy showing who the ‘Wild Colonial Boy’ really is, with his extraordinary guitar playing on that track. Andy Bickers joined the band onstage for the rockabilly rampaging on ‘Rising Sun’.
Don Walker – preferring to mostly be in the background – showed who the maestro was on ‘All For Me’ and ‘Letter to Alan’, as his mop of grey hair bowed in devotion over his keyboard. Equally, Phil Small was solid on bass, having lost none of his finesse over the fretboard. Jimmy Barnes and his big screaming vocals moved around stage all night; you can see what he would have been like back in Chisel’s native days in the wild running up and down touring pubs of East Coast Australia. Jimmy told the young impressionable members of the audience that they made sure they got run out of every town.
A couple of tracks from their new album ‘Blood Moon’ were played: ‘Getting the Band Back Together’, a catchy foot-stomper, and ‘Drive’, a reminder of Chisel’s wild volatile days.
The rain kept coming, but Jimmy and the boys did not let up. “Come on we need the fucking rain!” screamed Jimmy, as they launched into the hard-working ‘Shipping Steel’ and ‘You got Nothing I Want’. The crowd were lapping it up, the older fans clearly appreciating how lucky they were to have grown up listening to these legends and the younger audience singing along to every word of ‘Khe Sanh’ and ‘Bow River’, offering hope that Chisel were inspiring a new generation of brilliant Australian rock.
The classics just kept coming like the rain and I’m certain that had it been a dry evening, the water on the cheeks of many would have appeared as tears as the chorus joined in with ‘When the War is Over’ and ‘Flame Trees’. Or perhaps by that stage it was alcohol-induced melancholy – ha! As always it was a brilliant event, and organisers did an amazing job managing the patrons in the wet weather. One thing is for certain, Cold Chisel won’t be getting run out of any town they play these days – they will be given the keys to the city! Legends.
Images (C) Simone Gorman-Clark