Review Cassandra Hale
First up for the night was Brisbane three-piece Good Boy. If indie is your thing I am sure you would really enjoy them. They pumped out their songs quickly and while the crowd wasn’t large they were happy to enter into some banter with the band which is always entertaining. They seem to be doing a bit of touring of late so I am sure you can catch them out and about, they are certainly lucky to be kicking off with Grinspoon on the Guide To Better Living tour.
New South Wales duo Hockey Dad got the prime support spot opening for Grinspoon on their first arena show in Melbourne. A gig any young Australian band would give their left arm for. They played to a quickly filling house as the fans streamed in giving us a set of around 45 minutes. Singer Zach Stephenson made up half of this twosome playing guitar and pumping out the tunes together with drummer Billy Fleming who wasn’t scared to give the singing a crack himself. For a band of two, they had great sound, classing themselves as surfer pop, I think they hit that mark pretty well spot on. I believe they would have benefited from being a little closer together on stage as there were a few hearing difficulties between them, but they worked well with what they had and put on a really great set. They were well received by the expanding crowd and I am sure we will see their name popping up again.
The atmosphere was building as the clock ticked down to Grinspoon-o-clock, kicking off the first arena show of the tour at the aptly renamed Marriage Equality Arena, well for tonight at least, in sold-out fashion. It is really hard to believe it has been 20 years since this awesome foursome slapped us in the face with Guide To Better Living. Yet here we are having the mother of all birthday parties celebrating in spectacular fashion with a live show of the album from start to finish. As the boys took the stage craziness descended and it was clear that the end of the Grinspoon hiatus had been long overdue by the fans.
Effervescent frontman Phil Jamieson was on fire with his trademark moves that we know and love so well. His unique dancing style unchanged over the last 20 years. They were off and running working through Guide To Better Living in quick-fire fashion. Clearly, they were loving what they were doing and so were the fans. A lively mosh front and center just enough to keep the security on their toes as plenty of punters made the surf across the top.
One question I did ask myself was how low can Joe go? Bass player Joe Hansen didn’t miss a beat as he slid into ‘splits’ on many occasions, time has definitely not left him any less flexible. Pat Davern was brilliant on guitar treating us all to a killer solo which the fans ate up so happy to see the ‘band back together’. It was hard to catch a glimpse of Kristian Hopes on the drums, hidden behind his kit so deeply in tune with his music, but while we might not have seen him we sure did hear him, sounding absolutely kick arse all night.
As the Guide To Better Living came to a close we were all hopeful for a few more songs. After a brief break, they were back and it was game on, Phil opening with Protest from the sound desk at the back of the arena, a treat for the fans in the back stalls. There had also been quick costume change for Phil now donning a crisp white shirt and suit jacket. A fleeting run back to the stage and the familiar strains of Chemical Heart rang out, fans singing/screaming at the top of their voices. Lost Control was up next and while I think many already had lost control they dug deep until the mosh reached fever pitch. Ready 1 and No Reason followed on then everyone pretty much lost their minds with 1000 Miles and Hard Act To Follow. Announcing the last song of the night the boys launched into More Than You Are, smoke and confetti cannons on steroids the crowd left nothing in the tank and certainly nothing in their beer glasses as the night came to a close.
From start to finish Phil was commenting on how much fun they were having and how grateful they were to be able to do this all over again. But we were the real winners seeing this awesome band we grew up with back on stage again knocking ‘em dead. Cheers to Grinspoon a night I will treasure always.