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Last Post on Sydney

Herein the Final Post on the Sydney Shows in January 2008

We burl down the hill after discovering an amazing Korean place near the Metro. We feel human again. There is beer. At the bottom of the hill lies a ferris wheel and a Chinese garden. To my consternation we are granted to shoot in both the following day. The idea is to put Marty in the ferris wheel and and interview Alsy in the Chinese garden: get the co-founder’s memories flowing.

We return to the Metro , and snap up a quick backstage interview with a well spoken Toby Martin (Youth Group) who appears to possess the sort of natural, unforced, unearthly charisma that lead vocalists sell their souls to inherit. Toby is proof Dave’s legacy can be enduring, he’s young enough to have never seen or met Dave in any setting but finds the music astoundingly rich. Further, he truly rates him as a vocalist… and listening to soundchecks, its true; the vocalists have really had to work to hit not just the notes, but the phrasing; the real mark of really superb vocalist …. not the what, the how.

And then it’s time for the show.

Those that were there, know.

For those that were not.. Graham asked me what I thought afterwards,the word that sprang to mind was ’spellbinding’ . It truly was: I go to scores of shows every year, and I hear several albums a week.

I confess to being a jaded old bastard. At times.

To hear this canon of songs, the stage decked out in flowers, Dave’s colleagues, friends and family on stage; made them come to life; not that they don’t live on in memory and on the re-masters, but there’s nothing…. nothing, like hearing these stories rendered large before an enthralled audience. Bless John McComb for his readings.

Now, I had maybe 2 or 3 reservations; the odd arrangement I didn’t like, the mix on a couple of early songs, but…so what? In the context of the show, these are meaningless. Anyone who picked these shows apart is incapable of still being made happy by music and is a hereby a WOWSER.

So…. potted highlights.

Rob Snarski singing Hell of a Summer ; like he was always supposed to sing it. He ’sang the fucking song’.
Mick Harvey delivering The Seabirds; perfect for his rather underated singing voice.
Toby Martin doing Save What You Can.
Jill doing Tarilup Bridge: still bloody ghostly after all these years; and it was spookier still live
Melanie Abrahams doing I Want to Conquer You from Love of Will just about stole the whole show.

Then, there was Steve Kilbey.
Now, excuse me…but I don’t really rate him most days. Don’t get me wrong: there are certain Church albums, Sometime Anywhere and Gold Afternoon Fix in particular, that I love and always will. And all the early stuff. BUT…. I’ve never enjoyed him live. Sorry if that ruffles the feathers of Australian Music Orthodoxy That is, I’ve never enjoyed him live…. until tonight. He attacked Lonely Stretch and Wide Open Road to create an atmosphere of tangible drama and tension. then on the hastily changed encore; he sang Field of Glass. The band — and they are a BAND again tonight — patently love this song — ; maybe because they never quite touched the mood Field of Glass achieved again on record. Live, its one of moments I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It’s indescribably, violently, uplifting.

And then, the first evening is over. And there are standing ovations. Of course , the band go backstage and don’t see them. they have to be told :)

THE NEXT DAY….
It Rains. Damnably. Locations are out : the Ferris Wheel isn’t running and Marty says he ‘gets vertigo on a doormat’. Daubney Carshot will need to be captured elsewhere. The Chinese Garden is shut.
We do manage, … of course, as one must. and get a laconic but absolutely fascinating hour with Marty.
There’s loads, loads loads… loads more to tell.

But you’ll have to get the film to see and hear more about that. won’t you? :)

Stay tuned to read more about how it all pans out.

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