Gallery 2019, Broods, Elizabeth Sharpe, Karnivool, Scrabble PR, The Big Pineapple, Thundamentals, Vera Blue
Gallery 2019, Elizabeth Sharpe, Hands Like Houses, Laurel, Scrabble PR, The Big Pineapple, The Chats, West Thebarton
Gallery 2019, Austen, Dorah Jacson, Elizabeth Sharpe, Flight Ibis, MANE, Scrabble PR, Stand Atlantic, The Big Pineapple, The Dreggs, Tones and I
Gallery 2019, Australian Tour, CW STONEKING, Elizabeth Sharpe, Gallery, Jordan Merrick, Lefties, Queensland
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2018, Australian Tour, BRISBANE, Elizabeth Sharpe, Live Review, Phil Collins, Suncorp Stadium, TEG Dainty
Look, when I found out that I was going to be seeing Phil Collins live in concert… I’ll be honest… I squealed and started dancing in my living room. If I had to compile a soundtrack to my life, this genius would be found in the list more than just a couple of times alongside the memories of my baby brother singing along with I Can’t Dance and declaring it as his favourite song, to never EVER getting tired of In The Air Tonight, even when it featured in nearly every single ad break on the TV. Surely everyone has had a moment with Mr Collins? Dancing to Sussudio and wiping tears away to Another Day In Paradise…
So here we are – Suncorp Stadium on a warm Saturday evening in Brisbane. Phil was due to step out at 8 but has kindly held off to make sure that more people can find their seats before the start of the show. For now, we are treated to background music and a slideshow on the big screen of shots of Phil from across his long and colourful career.
Before long the stadium lights go out and a single white spotlight appears on the pitch black stage – Phil steps into the light, assisted by his cane and half way across throws an arm up into the air, waving out to the crowd. He hooks his cane over the back of his chair and sits down, taking a moment to greet the fans and offer an explanation for his diminished mobility… He does so with a bit of humour which is immediately received well by the crowd and serves well as the ice-breaker – if anyone can inject a feeling of intimacy into a stadium show without having even yet broken into song, it’s Phil Collins.
Against All Odds is the first song, followed by Another Day In Paradise – I’ve just shed my first tear of the night. Phil’s voice is unwavering and still projecting as much emotion as ever.
After Can’t Turn Back The Years, Phil says we’re in for some tracks from No Jacket Required and the band bursts into Inside Out followed by Who Said I Would accompanied by some very appropriately retro neon 80’s imagery on the screens – even more of Phil’s cheeky side comes out during this performance and it’s a treat to see.
Phil takes a moment to lovingly and playfully introduce the entire backing band one by one. Last but not least, we find out that the person who has been expertly keeping the beat behind the kit is Phil’s own 17-year-old son, Nicholas Collins!
A simple starlit backdrop brings the intimacy level back as enigmatic backing vocalist Bridgette Bryant takes a seat beside Collins for a spine-tingling emotional duet, Separate Lives.
Once their duet is over, it’s time for a slightly different one – Nicholas bursts through with powerful drum beats instantly lifting the energy and so begins a drum duet with world-renowned percussionist Mr. Richie “The Octopus” Garcia (as he was introduced earlier by Phil) … This is EPIC! 17 years old?! We’re all watching in awe as this overachiever battles it out with one incredible percussionist for at least 5 mins. Phil sits just back from his primary spot, closer to the drummers, and watches intently and with approval. I’m having a bit of a moment where I’m filled with empathy for Mr. Collins; a musicians loss of ability to play their instrument is like the loss of a limb. But those insane beats take over and I know that, as a parent, that yearning must be completely overshadowed by the tremendous pride he must have in his son right at this moment.
Phil turns back to face the audience and places on his lap a slap-top Cajon. Nicholas and Ritchie grab a Cajon each from their opposite sides of the stage and meet in the middle with Phil for what is one of the most special moments I’ve ever witnessed at a show. It’s simple, but oh so powerful, and Phil shows us that he still has it!
As if that wasn’t moving enough, after Heaven, we have Nicolas moving down from the drum rise to a piano, Phil sitting close beside him. A few gorgeous exchanges of jokes between the two and it was revealed that Nicolas taught himself the piano part for You Know What I Mean and together they perform it perfectly and finish with a loving cuddle before Nicolas resumes his position behind the kit for what could be the smash hit song of the night for everyone in this sweaty stadium – unmistakably the atmosphere builds for In The Air Tonight. The bass is rumbling through my body as Phil moves to the front but this time rests his cane and stands centre stage unassisted, as though given an extra boost from this particular mega-hit.
The rest of the night is like a giant dance party with most fans up on their feet and Phil pulling hilariously cheeky facial expressions, often holding the microphone out into the crowd who honestly don’t need the further encouragement to sing-a-long to Can’t Hurry Love, Invisible Touch, Easy Lover, Sussudio… ear-wormed yet??!
Anyone who tries to tell you that their experience was hindered by Phil being restricted to a chair for a large portion of the evening, mustn’t have allowed themselves to be fully embraced by the music and the passion that was quite literally radiating off that stage. Mr. Collins, thank you so much for tonight, and for your many contributions to the soundtrack of my life. You are a living legend and still well worth seeing live!
Review & Gallery Contributed by Elizabeth Sharpe
Gallery 2018, Australian Tour, BRISBANE, Dew Process, Elizabeth Sharpe, Fritz, Gallery, Good Boy, Pub Choir, The Grates, The Tivoli
Gallery 2018, Australian Tour, Bloc Party, BRISBANE, Elizabeth Sharpe, Haiku Hands, RIVERSTAGE, Secret Service PR
Featured Gig Reviews, Gig Reviews, Reviews 2018, Area 7, Australian Tour, BRISBANE, Eatons Hill, Elizabeth Sharpe, Lennard Promotions, Live Review, Menard Pr, Sam Sciacca, Smash Mouth
Supporting Smash Mouth in Brisbane was the electrifying Aussie ska-punk band, Area 7. They rocked the venue as it was filling almost entirely to capacity, conversing honestly and humbly with the audience between covers and originals that were riddled with bobbing brass solos and punchy vocals. Start Making Sense and Nobody Likes A Bogan, both from their 2000 and 2001 records respectively, were two particular highlights of the night, but the crowd got really into it during their cover of The Angel’s classic, Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, perfectly setting us up and getting us keen for the main event of the night. And alas, by the time Area 7 left the stage, we were ready, in the best way possible, for Smash Mouth.
Most would believe that in 2018, Smash Mouth has found itself in a peculiar and unfounded position. Seemingly unforgivingly placed in the one hit wonder basket thanks to their millennial anthem All-Star, one which also happens to be the song most associated with the Shrek franchise, not only has the band tried everything over the years to dispel rumours of it being their first and/or only chart-topper (trolling twitter users who even so much as link the track with the film), but they’ve also actively celebrated that fact, basking in the limelight that the association has warranted. Bought back in full effect by the 90’s nostalgic meme culture (most notably the tongue-in-cheek Jon Sudano covers), people seemingly began to appreciate the song more and it catapulted back into the heads of the 90’s kids, though it came at the cost of it largely being perceived as a meme in itself (aka, a song to shout at the top of your lungs, but not necessarily a benchmark of a successful band with many great, serious and reflective songs worthy of our attention).
Because of this, it wasn’t until I arrived at the Eatons Hill Hotel on the outskirts of Brisbane that I realised just how many Smash Mouth songs I actually knew, just how many of them I could chant along to, and just how good they were. And I know I wasn’t alone.
Taking the stage at 9:30 pm wearing sunglasses and a simple tee shirt and jeans combo, lead singer Steve Hardwell nodded at us all before the band pummelled through the ? And The Mysterians cover, Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby, before continuing with Pacific Coast Party, two songs we all knew the band sang but forgot thanks to All Star. A cover of War’s Why Can’t We Be Friends, followed by another forgotten hit, Then The Morning Comes swiftly followed, earning more surprised widened eyes from a portion of the audience, the same portion that, as if they’d listened to it on their way to the concert, began to sing almost every word.
This was a common theme throughout the night and Harwell was very aware of that, openly acknowledging halfway into the set that he understands that most people are here for the top 3 songs in the bands’ repertoire, before urging those people to “try to have fun until we get there.” The energy was high as drummer Randy Cooke and guitarist Greg Camp played their roles to perfection, blasting through the first of said three songs Walking on the Sun, their 1997 single that holds the distinction of actually putting the band on the map. Michael Klooster was king of the keys and Paul DeLisle slapped the bass to perfection, rounding out this ‘All Star’ band.
During Stoned and Road Man, Harwell invited all ‘his ladies’ up on stage and twenty or so woman, young and old happily obliged, dancing with, taking selfies with and snapchatting the band as they acknowledged and appeased the women on stage, confusing a lot of the rest of us in the process. Throughout this, someone in the crowd heckled, in which the lead singer unabashedly exclaimed that he should “Shut the f%@k up. I speak, you listen.” For a lot of the audience, it was surprising to hear those words coming out of the mouth of someone we all associate with our favourite childhood film, but in a big way it’s completely our fault. On a general basis, as a generation of sentimental appreciation, we couldn’t see the band for the songs they’d worked so hard to perfect spanning two whole decades, instead of associating them only with a few songs that we were re-familiarised with because of internet memes.
After that moment, a majority of the audience took their rose-tinted All Star glasses off and jammed along with the band as they energetically roared through the undeniably catchy Always Gets Her Way, So Insane and a headbanging cover of the Kinks classic You Really Got Me. The energy from the room was at its highest, people finally fully being in the moment with the band and the band paying them back with an equal amount of energy. They then left the stage, and that’s when the audience erupted, putting the glasses back on.
‘ENCORE, ENCORE, ENCORE.’
And encore, they got. The band returned, nodding their heads as if to say ‘It’s time. Are you ready?’ They then proceeded to tear the house down with their classic rendition of I’m A Believer, before, without a second thought, rightly ending the night with All Star, the mosh jumping and screaming the chorus in unison while the cheap-seaters did exactly the same.
All in all, it was an interesting concert experience. There was a bit of confusion and apathy sprinkled into the 16-song set, but everyone who attended got what they came for, as well as a lot more. It was surprising to a lot of concert-goers just how many songs we knew like the back of our hand, and amongst the many highs and few lows of the set, it was ultimately fulfilling hearing what we all came to hear, with a lot more forgotten nostalgia and newfound appreciation stacked on top.
Review Contributed by Sam Sciacca
Gallery Contributed by Elizabeth Sharpe
Gallery 2018, Area 7, Australian Tour, Elizabeth Sharpe, Gallery, Lennard Promotions, Menard Pr, Smash Mouth