If Sunday night was anything to go by, I’m pretty sure we have a new national anthem.
Mental As Anything, Diesel, James Reyne and Icehouse – the concert that, when I asked my plus one if he was keen, he couldn’t text me back a bigger-fonted YES.
The venue, Red Hill Auditorium, is just off Toodyay road and, snuggled among the eucalypts with an incredible view out from the bush to the city limits, it looks as though it just occurred there by natural volition.
A smart way of getting there is to catch one of the shuttles that leave from a bunch of locations across the metro area – we hopped on the one which left the Rosemount in North Perth.
A note about the auditorium, if you’ve never been…
- Bring a cushion. You’re going to be sitting on limestone blocks
- Slip, slop, slap and slip, slop, slap some more – the only places to escape the sun is in the loos or getting out money from the two ATMs (which, by the way, command a $4 charge)
- Bring something warm to wear for later. When the sun is up, the amphitheatre can be thermonuclear, but when the sun goes down, it can get pretty chilly
I didn’t do any of these things.
As the sun was setting, the Mentals kicked everything off with Too Many Times and didn’t skip a beat in their set, which lasted roughly 45 minutes. The dance floor kept filling during the classic Live It Up and If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?
Greedy Smith and the boys completed their showcase churning out The Nips Are Getting Bigger, which for some punters, would end up being a fair representation of how the night would pan out.
Seriously, where has Diesel been and why do I not have any of his albums? This performance was dead-set phenomenal. I remember turning to my plus-one saying: this is the sort of music that reminds me of a time before music talent shows like Idol, you know, like the days when E Street was on TV.
Man Alive was on-point pub rock, but it was the baseline of All Kinds of Weather that got the attention of many ladies (and some men)… it was pure sex.
The crowd pleasers were Tip of My Tongue and his guitar work on Cry In Shame.
If this were all I got to see on Sunday night, I would have been one satisfied concert-goer.
And then came James Reyne.
First of all, he is 57 and doesn’t look anything over 38.
Second of all, he still sings like a doctor writes prescriptions, I struggle to understand the words.
But who cares, right? It’s JAMES REYNE, the guy who is behind some of the most memorable songs in Australian culture, so much so I reckon his entire back catalogue should be given to newly-minted Aussie citizens.
I didn’t make the dance floor to show my appreciation for Mr Reyne as it was absolutely jam-packed with people getting down to Beautiful People and the Boys Light Up before slowing everything down with more Australian Crawl stalwarts, Reckless and Downhearted.
Songs from his solo career, such as One More River and his most successful single Way Out West (with James Blundell), didn’t make the set list.
So here we were, under the stars on a balmy summer’s Australia Day eve, surrounded by eucalypts when they walk onto the stage.
As I write, I’m trying to find my notes for the Icehouse set. I don’t have any. This usually means one thing: I was way to busy having a great time instead of having my pen poised.
All I wrote was “Iva sounds just like David Bowie – amazing” and a shorthand scrawl saying “We Can Get Together, dance floor pumping”.
Iva Davies, with his luscious curly mullet of the 80s now replaced with pure silverfox glory, reunited the audience with their youth with Hey Little Girl, Nothing Too Serious, Crazy, My Obsession and the song that is pure unadulterated Icehouse – Electric Blue.
The most moving song of the night was Man Of Colours. It completely shut the place down. Hearing it live was goose-bump inducing and a borderline hypnotic experience.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get more incredible, the entire amphitheatre stood up for Great Southern Land.
Because of which, I now consider it our unofficial national anthem.