DOWN TO SIZE
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
DOWN TO SIZE
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY ROGER BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
An atmosphere of genuine excitement envelopes a Melbourne crowd, sheltered by The Palais walls from the winter-esque winds this a historic Spring evening. Excitement and eager anticipation brought about by the presence of Scorpions to play their first Australian Tour. What more august chamber to house such a propitious occasion, with some people present being of similar vintage and conversely, for others their first exposure to a live performance at all. And who more fitting than the legendary Scorpions to the acquaint young hearts and minds to the majesty of a genuinely astounding live performance, for that’s what was about to be received. A Teutonic rock triumph of epic proportions.
As explained to me by Matthias Jabs in a pre-visit interview, which can be found here, it is not their first visit to Australia, but their very first tour appearance. So no need for fillers, nor supports and no guiding of the lily. These are rock legends, and tonight accompanied by fellow legend and metal drumming royalty in Mikkey Dee. The eager audience keep bot on the spot as directed by the pre-show announcements, but as the Scorpions appeared stage front, too many had been waiting too long for this occasion and honored the Scorpions with a standing reception. No need for seats, our appreciation cannot be contained as Going Out With A Bang opens proceedings. To see the graphic of an Australian flag behind the band was a most satisfying sight indeed.
I am helpless to contain my excitement as such a staple of rock and metal performs live for their humble followers and all with the words of Lemmy reverberating in my mind, “The best drummer in the world…Mikkey Dee”. This is absolutely unforgettable. By the time The Zoo echoes forth, a further profound realisation presents to the fore, namely the quality of delivery. As many groups of vintage rely more on name than skill to draw in a crowd, here we are treated to a sensational spectacle of craft mastery from one and all. In fact, the stage graphics, the lighting, the sound and the performance from these wizards, and I thought my expectations could not possibly be exceeded. All so magnificently presented and oozing professional from every pore. As I look around the crowd and notice a distinct lack of moshing and hard rocking, I realise I am not the only one present in profound and bewildered awe. Mouth agape and stunned. An occasional return to consciousness for a little air guitar and then back an almost trance-like state of satisfied perplexity born of the superb Scorpions sensation coupled with the struggle to accept this as reality. Honestly, and only if for me, that’s how this performance felt.
Coast To Coast, Top Of the Bill this is truly an even matched only by the instrumental and vocal deliveries. I was ready to forgive Klaus any vocal capacity lost to time, but nothing. Not an ounce of his ability had been claimed by passing years. Simply incredibly superb. And following a Matthias guitar spectacular, we all assembled help Jahre celebrate the arrival of his 60th year with a crowd rendition of Happy Birthday led by Klaus.
Mikkey leaves his position aloft at the kit and descends to stage for some acoustic celebration of the bands more moving ballads, including none other than the decades of call for peace in Wind Of Change. But will the timely interlude completed and Mikkey mopped dry, we launch straight into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in superb style.
Just as I feel that I have calmed enough to actually absorb some of this amazing performance as being manifest in reality, rather than an imagined dreamscape, the band take my breath from my body yet again. A tribute to the late Motorhead legend Lemmy Kilmister. We have heard many tributes since the sad day that mortal rock world lost its king, but this time with his band mate Mikkey Dee at the kit made this very, very special indeed. Mikkey playing Overkill, backed by images of Lemmy cause me to refrain from an extended description lest my words bear evidence that there was more than a single tear in the eye. Just amazing and a brilliantly fitting ode from living legends to legend passed. But Mikkey launches into a solo spectacular of percussive magnificence. Accompanied by a brilliant lighting display, Mikkey wows us from aloft but seems to scarcely break a sweat despite his furious assault. Again, a profoundly thrilling display of a master at work. Additionally, it is the constant invitations and enticement from Mikkey for the crowd to get even more involved, that sets him apart as a true maestro of the live rock show. To watch Mikkey is a sensational treat all on its own, but tonight with Scorpions launches the performance into legendary status.
Quite honestly, if the show finished here at midpoint, I would not have walked away disappointed at all. The fact that the show continued on with subsequent displays of performance prowess, professionalism and timing to perfection, was additional thrill and felt like more than one could have possibly hoped for. I have no clue how many aspiring or current performers graced the crowd with their presence, but rest assured they received a master class in how to convene a rock ‘n’ roll show.
Blackout, No One Like You and Big City Nights built to a perfect show crescendo, but with Rock You Like A Hurricane absent, all present knew the show was not over. Following bows, resounding applause, front row gifts of picks and sticks and roars of appreciation, we are treated to the encore. Where a guitar toting intruder managed to find access to stage central during Still Loving You remains a security mystery but needless to say, the band kept performing into the magnificent climax. Indeed, they rocked us like a hurricane.
This historic show was a magnificent spectacle that managed to exceed my expectations and thrill me in every possible way. Rare is the performance that sends lightening like sensation through my veins has me wide awake for hours following, but this Scorpions show did exactly that. A true masterclass from seasoned legends one and all. An evening of Scorpions dedicated magnificence along with an unexpected opportunity to join with Mikkey, live in Australia to farewell Lemmy, and celebrate his legacy. All the Scorpions hits spanning decades of rock celebration and performed to perfection.
My only regret is that every music aficionado in Australia could not attend this monumental night and share in the sensation. But, I fear a multi-city tour would not have captured the same atmosphere and made this performance nearly as profoundly distinct and memorable as it was. But lets face it any Scorpions visit to Australia is always going to be historic and sensational. Decades of waiting, celebrating their music from afar, all now at an end. Please, please Rudolf, Klaus, Matthias Pawel and Mikkey, come back soon for a multi-city tour and let all witness some semblance of the brilliance we witness this day. Simply put, utterly amazing.
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY LYNDA BUCHANAN
HOT! HOT! HOT! HOT! The perfect way to begin proceedings in one of Melbourne’s classic days of heat, and what better venue than Rod Laver Arena. This iconic and august chamber ready to receive a BIG ASS crowd, and some BIG ASS celebrations of the Big Ass Tour.
The crowd are steadily flowing in, sweaty, willing and able to absorb the aural treasure to unfold before us. The Amity Affliction and A Day To Remember shirts adorn the primarily 20ish crowd, albeit somewhat stained with perspiration.
Hands Like Houses hailing from Canberra are first to open proceedings with their killer track I Am, received by the crowd with moshing aplenty.
The crowd, although not yet to the size expected, more than make up for numbers with enthusiasm overflowing, despite the temperature. This crowd amass in celebration, absolutely engaged from the outset, and clapping along to requests from the band.
Hands Like Houses hit the stage with as much energy as if headlining the event. Unrestrained and revelling in their role, the group remember to make mention of the unfortunate circumstances leading to their inclusion. With due reverence made to The Ghost Inside, Hands Like Houses are far from squandering this opportunity. The group enquire throught heir lead as to how many present have heard their music and easily, one third of the assembled launch their hands skyward. Glasshouse, a track from their upcoming release Dissonance, is met with a gleeful reception providing proof enough that their February release is eagerly anticipated. “Our job here tonight is to warm up the crowd so warm the fuck up and bounce, bounce, bounce”. The masses oblige willingly. Our kit master vigorously pounds the drums, just as energetically as our lead guitarist and bassist perform.
Perspectives was warmly received, while Introduce Species proved a crowd favorite with fist pumping right from the start. The impressive lighting and strobe flashes were equally as impressive for the band as for the crowd. Beware world because Hands Like Houses have a taste for this size arena and the sky is no longer the limit. ‘Melbourne is sick!!!’ is met with a roar before the band complete their appearance with New Romantics. Killer performance.
Jonny Boucher, the founder of Hope For The Day arrived on stage to present some welcome sentiments regarding suicide prevention and depression. Hopefully some assembled with their own demons will heed the call to unity, or even guide others to understanding and help. After all, even in the deepest pits of hopelessness, music and events like the Big Ass Tour provide ample evidence that life is indeed, worth living.
Motionless in White ease the ever mounting numbers into their set with a gentle keyboard and strings refrain, before the floating face of our drummer (due to painted neck) takes to the stage, closely followed by the remainder of this exciting a skilful ensemble. Dirty vocals from Chris are met huge screams and cheers from assembled, and constantly swelling crowd. Joshua is reaperesque, robed and hooded in black, with only a painted white face to distinguish him from the darkness. “I am fucking telling you move your god damn bodies”demands Chris, but really the crowd need little encouragement with moshing and circle pits accompanied by crowd surfing celebration of this astounding band. Asked if any Motionless In White fans are present, a mammoth volume of hands reach upward and screams fill the venue. With that Chris provides vindication and acknowledgement by exclaiming “this one’s for you” pointing crowd ward. Immaculate Misconception is pumped out so forcefully that the percussive power could be felt throughout your physical presence. “All my boys in the center right here – that’s what I’m fucking talking about” encourages the crowd even further. In Slipknot style, Motionless In White have so much going on and so much to see, but bring it all together in masterful style. I can only feel a little disappointed for those who missed their performance. Thoroughly thrilling and animated in crowd involvement.
I must admit that Abagail is a personal favourite and to see guitarists, Chris and Joshua head banging in unison was a highlight for me. The excitement builds even further as The Walking Dead theme song introduces more favourites. As the masses are invited to spell out America, our lead exclaims “I would move here if I wasn’t such an ignorant fucking yank. I’d move here in a second”. It seems to me the fans would be pleased with that move. The group pay further tribute to The Ghost Inside and a sensational, yet personalised cover of Linkin Park’s One Step Closer brings the house tumbling down.
Generation Lost is introduced in a techno dance style and the crowd love it, bouncing through set. Crowd surfers physically flying through the air, launching skywards in defiance of the heat and determined not to let energy diminish.
A careful assessment leads to the presumption that we are about 80% capacity and filling quickly, as A Day To Remember are greeted with excited cheers and screams. Coloured confetti explodes from cannons elevating the excitement to a new high. The masses are in moshing unison from the start. No gimmicks, just the music.
The stage was veiled in an ominous foreboding of darkness, sans all reference point before Jeremy inquires ‘How many of you mother fuckers came to dance?’ and the stage is bathed in brilliant light revealing a seething mass of jumping and fist pumping. With some timely band encouragement, the largest circle pit in my memory develops on the floor. This Is Where I Came From is a firm crowd favourite, fervently celebrated by all present. Rolls of toilet paper were thrown out from stage adding to the excitement. I can understand why… It was most thoughtful of the group to understand that none were going to miss any of the show by wasting time in the toilet.
Black stage again as the voice of Macaulay Culkin rings out.
From Jeremy, ‘I don’t expect you to do this because I have heard it is dangerous’ and an explanation of surfing a crowd surfer is more enticement that one pair need to give it a try. Much to Jeremy’s delight, they actually pull it off, albeit kneeboard style, because “nowhere is better at surfing than Australia”. Well done lads, did us proud.
Aussie beach balls appear and are thrown crowd ward to Better Off This Way, followed by Have Faith In Me. Jeremy asks all the ladies to sit on someone’s shoulders “coz this song goes out to all the ladies”. To my amazement one lady obliges by sitting on the shoulders of a dude, who was already on the shoulders of another dude. Yep, Melbourne is nuts.
My Life For Hire is provided an extra expletive in the introduction and dedicated to Soundwave along with ‘one of the best fucking tours’. Shirts get thrown to the crowd and Jeremy comes down to the barrier to say g’day to front row, then a stick figure drawing of him appears on the wall and we are led into a ‘Happy Birthday to Jeremy”.
Kevin and Jeremy provide an acoustic If It Means A Lot To You, providing timely opportunity for a rest, accompanied by lighters and phones providing the ambiance. Then an acoustic introduction to Champagne SuperNova build to the bands return, as the crown sends back the la, la, la sing along
All I Want provides sound track to the crowd reacting in a manner that can be best described, utilising contemporary colloquialisms, as going ape shit. Suitable recharged after acoustics the crowd resume the bouncing and singing back to the band in sensational style. Jeremy requests that he ‘wants everyone to stand and feel the earth fucking shake’ to their finale. An absolute blinder.
Now on to The Amity Affliction. The stage is completely bathed in white light, in itself a contrast to the darkened stage provided for A Day To Remember.
Lights go out and the crowd cheers at unprecedented volume. All attention is to the stage. Thumping on the drums with corresponding white lights, sees the crowd go nuts with hands in the air. The Amity Affliction tracks are sung back at the band impressively verbatim. The crowd surfers start off early demonstrating the monumental popularity of The Amity Affliction. Black and silver confetti rained over crowd.
A circle pit is requested from the band to the pit and a hot, exhausted crowd find more energy to oblige. There is remarkably less crowd movement for The Amity Affliction, perhaps because they are tired, but I really believe that no one was willing to lose their vantage point for this incredibly talented group. The evidence of this is no hesitation in jumping when asked to but moving from their position was not an option. Who could blame the audience for just standing and staring in bewildered awe at the skilful might of Amity Affliction? No huge fanfare here. Just the guys and instruments letting the music speak for itself. Highlights like Chasing Ghosts and The Weigh Down will never leave my memory, and provide a lifetime’s gleeful reflection. That is until next time they visit our shores.
Ample ass is indeed an apt description for this tour and, to our delight much ass was kicked tonight. Big Ass Tour was exactly that and my big ass will happily carry the memories for years to come. Absolutely sensational.
INTERVIEW WITH JJOHN LINNELL (THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS)
Following their incredibly successful Australian Tour in 2013 with multiple Sold Out shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, the Two Johns aka THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS return in November 2015.
We were lucky enough to have a quick chat with one of the 2 Johns (Linnell) about what they have been up to and what we can expect this time around!!!
Their thoroughly engaging and entertaining shows are something that everyone has to experience and existing fans shouldn’t miss.
“If you ever get the chance to see They Might Be Giants make sure you do. See them twice if you can, you will not regret it!” — It’s My Kind of Scene
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS are John Linnell on keyboards and accordion and John Flansburgh on guitar, and their barn-storming live band includes Danny Weinkauf on bass, Marty Beller on drums and Dan “Solder” Miller on lead guitar. Linnell and Flansburgh became friends as kids in school in Massachusetts but only formed the band after moving to Brooklyn, New York. The duo have spent half their life together in TMBG and along the way have perfected their original sound through memorable melody and a sly bit of humor that never crosses into parody.
Along with their impossibly catchy songs, They Might Be Giants’ high concept, low budget music videos helped the band stand apart, and rocketed the duo to the top of the burgeoning US alternative rock scene, and then on to international mainstream success.
“The crowd erupted at the first few bars of their most recognisable song ‘Dr Worm’ and they were easily the band that interacted with their audience the best and most effectively.” — Surg FM
Drawing on their massive recorded catalog, their live show is spontaneous, high energy, high volume, and ever evolving. They have been praised as “The best band you’ve never seen.” See their most memorable show while you can.
“They Might Be Giants are a wonderfully whimsical band, the kind that makes you happy just to be there in their moment” — The Ripe
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES 2015
Monday 2nd November: PERTH, The Astor Theatre
Wednesday 4th November: ADELAIDE, The Gov
Thursday 5th November: BRISBANE, Tivoli
Friday 6th November: SYDNEY, Enmore Theatre
Saturday 7th November: MELBOURNE, Forum Theatre
TICKETS ON SALE JUNE 16TH AT 9.00am from:
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY MATT ALLAN PHOTOS
A tremendous contingent of fans both young and not so young, line the precincts of Rod Laver Arena for this historic and monumental celebration of a tremendous musical and popular culture career.
Being avid fans of Melbourne based band Muscle Car, I keenly await their appearance on the big stage and see what sort of a wallop Damo and the lads can pack.
Clearly Muscle Car have been rehearsing for a performance of this magnitude since their inception circa 1998. There is no doubt the boys were ready, willing and as keen as you like to grasp this opportunity with both hands and belt the proverbial out of it…musically speaking.
The first night provided some unfortunate sound issues that clearly made a minor impact for the band, but with those gremlins overcome by night 2, the boys were ready to dominate and show what they are capable of. Their stage presence and celebration of the night were truly reflected in their musical delivery, thereby making certain that all assembled were in no doubt that this is what the group were always aspiring to. I have absolutely no doubt that performance, coupled with the opportunity afforded to them by Triple M Melbourne, will launch the lads further into musical success and ensure an ongoing staple of appearances. The confidence demonstrated by Damien during a prior interview with me, was clearly present on stage. Well done lads, you certainly delivered in extremely fine form.
Having had prior opportunity to visit Alice Cooper in Las Vegas and observe in bewildered awe the Raise The Dead Tour in full effect, I was just a little excited to see the toned down version of his show in support of the Crüe. A more apt description of my mood was like a kiddy before Christmas just after the folks had landed the lottery.
As Alice took to the stage, the crowd front and center seems astonished and somewhat befuddled. We saw his name on the promo, we saw his merch on the way in…but now it hits home…It’s him! The mighty one here and before us live in Melbourne. Into the tracks and the crowd were in full celebration. It is difficult to grasp that a man of this vintage remains so thoroughly capable and tremendously thoughtful in his delivery of malevolent madness through song. But having met with the man and discussed music at some length, it is clear that he remains genuinely concerned for each, and every concert attendee’s pleasure and enjoyment of the shows he delivers with his tremendous group. I must admit to a little disappointment in the knowledge that Orianthi is busy with other commitments and would not be traveling with Alice on this tour. All concerns were laid to rest and replaced with new memories of the wonderfully talented Nita Strauss. Her guitar prowess and immersion into the Alice Cooper show are tremendous and thoroughly memorable.
With classic tracks of old accompanied by more contemporary music, the crowd really appreciated the performances delivered by the entire band. The stage show of legend, in shortened format, was not the slightest bit disappointing, save for the fact that I could not help but wish all assembled could see the madness in full flight, complete with Alice’s daughter playing the part of a second psychopathic Sister of sadistic nursing intent on Mr. Cooper’s demise. Yet again, Alice is eloquently electrocuted, transformed into his fiendish Frankenstein alter ego famished for feeding, and finally beheaded in vain attempt to put this walking, talking legend of shock rock to everlasting silence. This is, of course, impossible as the only one capable of killing off Alice Cooper is the wonderful gentleman himself, namely Vincent Furnier.
Veiled in darkness, the headliners take to the stage and erupt into the music magnificence that we have all enjoyed for so many decades. I believe Mötley Crüe are completely cognisant of the fact that this is a sad night for so many. The last chance for a multigenerational mix of fans to watch their heroes live, loud and present everything that Crüe to a triumphant finale. This show is acknowledged by the band as the last for so many, but that’s where the sadness ends. No teary fare thee well, and completely sans sobbing sentiment and we are provided with a tremendous and memorable show.
Vince Neil has lost nothing to time in his stage presence and vocal ability, wowing the crowd to what can only be described as a pyrotechnic festival of light, confetti, fire and fanfare.
I will resist the temptation to wade track by track through the show, but rather comment on some of the highlights such as Nikki Sixx parading each section of the stage in an attempt to personally acknowledge each and every celebrating soul. The same goes for Vince who I think winked and smiled at me about 10 times. Perhaps it was the great seats or an unforgettable ugly mug like mine. Either way, I know is wasn’t alone in a personal acknowledgment. The crowd responded in fine fashion to ‘Shout at the Devil’, although after all these years I still don’t know what to shout at him. Perhaps a kindly inquiry as to whether he is suitably fitted with asbestos underpants. That way he may be safe from the flame-throwing guitar donned by Nikki because nothing else was. Not even his microphone.
For me, ‘Kickstart My Heart’ was the highlight offering both fond memory and sombre farewell as the group charged through every ounce of my physical being and elicited every emotion brought to the fore with every track enjoyed, every year of their career.
Tommy Lee states he has been waiting his entire career to be aloft the crowd in his tremendous ‘Cruecifly’, highlighting his percussive skills in whatever physical attitude we might seek his services. And yes Tommy, we wish there were 13000 seats up there with you too and we know that you mean ‘dear devoted fans’ each time you fondly refer to us as ‘fuckers’.
This tremendous show with animated solos and stage presence from Mick Mars, seeming abridged in recent shows was only marred by one disappointment, namely the final track. Home Sweet Home was absolute faecal matter on a special stage. Performed beautifully and as a special treat to those seated at the back, but complete crap none the less. Utterly disappointing simply because that’s it. It’s all over. No more Mötley Crüe for Melbourne ever. But chin up and cries of nil desperandum. They will perform in our heart and minds for evermore and each track put to the speaker will bring us all right back to this tremendous finale. Fare well Mötley Crüe and thank you for it all.