Review Cassandra Hale
The Doobie Brothers’ debut self titled album was released in 1971, which coincidentally is the same year I was born. It is hard to believe this ridiculously tight unit have been playing their sensational tunes for 45 years and still sound as fresh as a daisy today. Jesus is Just Alright opened the night with a bang, and they were off and Rockin’ Down the Highway much to the delight of the cheering fans. While it was not a rowdy crowd, it was a very appreciative one, thoroughly enjoying the music many of them had grown up with.
The set list of 16 was the perfect length and mix of their back catalogue, including Takin’ It To The Streets, Music is the Doctor, Black Water and China Grove just to name a few. Their commitment to making great music covering many genres such as bluegrass, country and rock and roll is evident in every song they sing. Their enjoyment is obvious which makes for a very pleasurable experience for all in the venue.
Having sold over 48 million albums worldwide is such a testament to this band which has stood the test of time, being no mean feat in todays music climate. The harmonies were brilliant and musically they were faultless, with a sax solo that had to be seen to be believed. Truly a delight to every ones ears, we knew it couldn’t go on forever but we were all hopeful for a few more.
After a brief exit the boys were back doing what they do best, keeping everyone rocking the night away with Without You. Of course the night would not be complete without the classic Listen to the Music, and what a finisher it was! Everyone was up and dancing, enjoying a sing-a-long with these ‘too cool for school’ performers. I must admit I was sad it was over and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
It was certainly a much more dynamic stage setup for Santana, with his entourage of drummers and percussionists a sight to behold. I was immediately struck by Santana’s low key approach to his music. Whilst he might be maestro of his trade you would never now it, so very humble and just enjoying himself without being showy or arrogant. His unique wailing rang out for all to enjoy with a fantastic choice of songs including Maria Maria, Foo Foo and A Love Supreme to warm up the adoring fans. Then it was time to sail away with Orinoco Flow, I absolutely loved this rocked up version and it seemed to be enjoyed by all.
Santana’s choice of singers was spot on, this dynamic duo sang the night away as well as keeping all the additional percussion instruments covered. One half of this duo, Ray Greene was exceptional, but not just his voice, his trombone skills were exceptional, and I must add he was clearly a doppelganger for Seal, and had the voice to match.
I loved the interaction and brief chats with the captivated audience. Santana’s message was one of love and beauty and a hope to change the world with people power, which was a welcome change and kept to the spiritual theme of the night. The classic Santana sound was almost mesmerising and one could not help but sway in your seat with a little shoulder shimmy thrown in for good measure.
The Zombies cover She’s Not There, followed up by Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone were a fantastic combination and at times it was hard to determine the end and beginning of songs as they just flowed into one another with ease. With only a few solos of his own it was evident that it was not the Carlos Santana show but a group effort from all on stage and it worked perfectly. There was not a lot of guitar changes with Santana favouring his signature PRS Goldtop for the duration of the show, and while we all knew this man could play, to see it in the flesh was sensational.
Black Magic Woman brought everyone to their feet, dancing in their seats, singing along hoping to hold onto this amazing spectacle for as long as they could. After a few more songs it was time for the drum/percussion solos, and they blew it right out of the arena. Santana’s wife Cindy Blackman Santana was a machine and I was surprised to see her kit still standing at what can only be described as a total assault to your senses and your ear drums!
While Smooth may have been lacking the vocals of Rob Thomas, this was no cause for concern, the singers were fabulous and the song was a sensational way to see out the night. Love, Peace and Happiness ended it all, and I think it was Santana’s intention for us all to take these three simple things away with us and hopefully make the world a better place. With just a quick wave goodbye the two hour show was over, but I can assure you not one fan left disappointed.
Review Cassandra Hale
It was evident the bedazzlers had been in overdrive leading up to the Dixie Chicks sold out shows at Rod Laver Arena. With no rhinestone left unturned the hoards boot scooted their way down Batman Avenue for a night of country tunes with this terrific trio.
Avalanche City hailing from New Zealand was the warm up to get the nights proceedings underway. Dave Baxter has had huge success in his homeland and showed us why he has several number one hits in the New Zealand charts with songs such as Love, Love, Love and Inside Out. A solid 45 minute set was enjoyed by all. I don’t think he had the lighting he deserved, and I found it difficult to see the band for quite a bit of their performance.
A disclaimer was read several times on entry to Rod Laver Arena stating the show was being filmed for a DVD, which answered a few questions as to why the roadies were wearing surgical booties, clearly they were keeping the stage super clean for the DVD footage. Michael Chugg even graced the stage reminding us yet again that we were being recorded. With all the housekeeping taken care of it was time to get on with the show.
Due to the filming the house lights were not dropped which I did not like, but it didn’t seem to worry the fans too much. Let’s Go Crazy by Prince rang out which built the anticipation a notch or two until it was finally time for the Dixie Chicks to take the stage.
Opening with The Long Way Around to thunderous applause the Dixie Chicks were off and running in what would be a huge two hour show filled with plenty of hits to keep everyone satisfied. Some Days You Gotta Dance did just that and everyone was on there feet enjoying the spectacle. With a stage of all black and white and outfits to match the Chicks looked pristine and all class as they played their hearts out to the adoring fans. A beautiful tribute to Prince with Nothing Compares to You brought tears to many an eye, the man himself would have been proud, they did an amazing job.
Taking the show down to stools and minimal instruments in front of a curtain at the front of the stage was a nice touch, it gave an intimacy that we are not often shown in big stage shows. The girls had changed their clothes from ‘black and white’ to ‘white and black’ keeping in the theme of the night. Their bluegrass roots shone through during this set and it was a part of the show I really enjoyed. Travelin’ Soldier, Don’t Let Me Die in Florida and Daddy Lessons were a few played before the girls did a cracker of a bluegrass instrumental. The musical talent these three have is evident in every song they played and Natalie’s voice was pitch perfect in every word she sang. It was wonderful to see that three of the backing band hail from Australia, a real credit to them, and not too shabby to put on your resume.
Back to the main stage and the floor that was black was now white, still fitting in with the colour free theme. Ready to Run was fabulous and clearly a fan favourite, finishing with confetti cannons from all corners of Rod Laver Arena. The variety of cowboy boots on display was fascinating, fringes adorned every second person in some way shape or form, as did the cowboy hats and I think there might have been a sale on pink ones as they were the choice of many.
The Fleetwood Mac cover of Landslide was beautifully performed, backed up with Cowboy Take Me Away, Wide Open Spaces and Sin Wagon to finish out the set.
I can’t recall exactly what song it was but I believe it may have been Sin Wagon when the square dancing ensued on the floor, the camera man made a mad dash to film it, so there is no doubt it will make the DVD. Well done to the participants you dosey doe’d quite unlike anyone I have seen before!
A brief moment or two and it was into the encore, Not Ready to Make Nice had this country loving crowd kicking up their heels and eager for one more. A cover of Ben Harper’s Better Way rained out giving the fans the chant they had been waiting for. They sang back with gusto, loving every minute. The two hours flew by but I am sure many will be back for the second show on Sunday night.
While my hat may not be of the cowboy variety, I would still take it off and say job well done, a very entertaining show!
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY JOHN RAPTIS PHOTOGRAPHY
After blowing away crowds with their dynamic and heart-stopping shows on Soundwave 2015,
Finnish classical-metal maestros Apocalyptica will be returning for a Headline tour this September!
Casper had an amazing chat with Apocalyptica drummer Mikko Siren regarding their tour Downunder.
Destroy All Lines and Chugg Entertainment Present
Australian Tour: September 2016
After blowing away crowds with their dynamic and heart-stopping shows on Soundwave 2015, Finnish classical-metal maestros Apocalyptica will be returning for a Headline tour this September!
If there is one abiding truism that pervades art of every creed and style, it is that those with a unique vision are invariably the most likely to prevail. And as far as the fine craft of hard rock is concerned, few bands have captured a spirit of defiant individuality better over the last two decades than Finnish titans Apocalyptica.
Since their inception in 1993, the cello wielding quartet have redefined the boundaries between rock, metal and classical music in a truly unprecedented way: they’ve not so much rewritten the rulebook as penned a brand new tone all of their own.
Formed initially by four true virtuosos at Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, over the course of eight highly-acclaimed studio albums (with global sales ttotalingover four million)
they have forged a reputation as an act capable of bringing fans from heavy and more traditional musical spheres together in euphoric celebration.
From bow-eviscerating speed to sprawling, spine-shivering waves of sound, Apocalyptica’s sonic palette is as rich as it is diverse: Metallica covers, Wagnerian tributes alongside international
Symphony Orchestra’s and collaborations with members of Slipknot, Soulfly and Bush are all a part of the bands extensive and multi faceted musical range.
With their eighth record 2015’s Shadowmaker (Sony Music Australia), cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, Perttu Kivilaakso and drummer Mikko Sirén delivered an album of deftly weaved intricacies infused with an energy as taut as their horsehair bows. Full-to-bursting with killer choruses, deliciously dark overtones and some good old fashioned pedal-to-the-floor speed metal pace,
Shadowmaker slices through every facet of human emotion and leaves the listener overwhelmed.
‘There’s a lot of possible meanings to the phrase ‘Shadowmaker, at one level it can be about a person whose energy is so negative they choke out everything positive that you are trying to put into the world. At a wider perspective though, it concerns the notion that we have these faceless, nameless people who control the world we live in and make a lot of bad decisions on our behalf. It can be understood on many levels and I enjoy bringing the multiplicity of that sentiment to the musical message we are putting across.’ Eicca Toppinen
Prepare yourself for a night at the opera like no other. From windmills & riffage to tear jerking pin-drop moments and incredible feats of musicianship that will leave you speechless.
You will be absolutely in awe of the sheer power emanating from the stage.
Wednesday, September 21: Capitol, Perth
Friday, September 23: 170 Russell, Melbourne
Saturday, September 24: Metro, Sydney
Sunday, September 25: Max Watts. Brisbane
Tickets on sale 9.00am Monday, May 9
Official Event Page: