A very hot day in Mildura, as apt as possible for the Red Hot Summer Tour. Performers gave the crowd a magnificent day’s entertainment despite being obviously, and very appropriately hot. Although an enthusiastic cluster behind me was convinced that Shannon Noll raised the term ‘hot’ to archetypical new heights.’
A backstage path offered passed the barriers and a brief wait.
Unmistakeable… Suzi, straight from my bedroom wall.
A few more years along, her and I both, but those beautiful blue eyes revel all. It’s really her. I made no mistake as her name was written on her t-shirt as well.
Feeling as youthful and diffident as the young boy admiring her on the wall, I shuffled forward in abstract disbelief. I am seldom a ‘fanned out’ aficionado but this lady is different. She has just achieved 50 years as a professional musician and is the archetypical ‘rock chick’. Who can blame me for feeling less than worthy of such an audience? Then she smiles and I dissolve into a shuddering gelatinous mess. Her timeless smile.
Denim shorts reveal lovely legs. I mean no disrespect. She had commented just day’s earlier on social media about her legs being up to the task. An efficient icebreaker, I thought, commenting on her legs and agreeing with her post. Thankfully she is a lovely soul and was kind enough to laugh out loud. Feigned or not, I thank you, Suzi.
As we speak together, I am overwhelmed by the wealth of rock history standing before me. The realisation that she has lived, and survived so much of ‘the life’ is a genuine experience in itself while in her presence. I am reminded of the qualities affectionately attributed to Suzi by Alice Cooper in a recent conversation with him in Las Vegas. I can feel myself slowly aspiring to be more like her and a better person all around. She is so generous with her time and so earnest in her attention. Every word uttered is of such significant importance she commands attention and yet in such a genuine delicate way. My limited vocabulary scarcely captures the moment and leaves me wanting to describe the emotions.
Her professional persona so tremendously confident melts away as she offers my wife a hug. Tears as a private moment of comradery and understanding is shared. Again I am bereft of terminology to adequately portray such an encounter. I beg readers to forgive me this deficiency, however those ‘who know Suzi like I know Suzi’ will appreciate my shortcoming.
A genuinely fond farewell and its show time.
Flanked by the talented guitarist Nat Alison to her left, the prolific skill of Pete Wanno to her right, the rhythmic excellence of Johnny Salerno at the kit behind and Paolo Cecchinelli in authoritative charge of the keys, they deliver to the waiting crowd the melodious feast so eagerly anticipated by all present.
Her style is just so unique. Many have been inspired by this lovely lady over so many years but none have managed to replicate the stance, the kick, the mike work and the butt wiggle that is the trademark of Suzi Quatro’s performances. And to bear witness to the memorising bum wiggle in real life splendour….well the roar of the crowd said it all.
Her stance with the low slung bass is so instantaneously recognisable and when it is steadied between her legs with the neck aimed skywards, you encounter such a familiar slice of rock history, the memories flood back densely. The audience becomes an integral component of so much history and is willingly or otherwise, in awe.
I close my eyes as her earlier tracks are played and found myself rushed back in time as the rock queen reaches vocal range and pitch I thought surely would be long lost to time.
Her contemporary music demonstrates the genuine lifelong talent of this musical treasure.
Suzi Quatro is such a truly remarkable artist, rock legend and genuinely magnificent person. I am so honoured to have met her and will treasure our encounter.
I am both saddened and excited whilst anticipating her upcoming ‘Final Australian Tour’. I am trusting this is merely a clever name and she will return again. Nevertheless, if this is, in fact, the last time she blesses our fair shores with her magnificence, we can rest assured that she has so much more to offer an eager music world and her loyal admirers, to soak up every note.