Gallery By Matt Allan
Gallery By Matt Allan
Multiple grammy award winner Jimmy Webb may not be a household name, but he is the man synonymous with more hits than I have had hot dinners. His illustrious career has been long and plentiful bringing joy to his fans for many years. Singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Jimmy has worked with everyone who is anyone in the business and we were to be treated to just a small sample of the hits over the course of the evening.
Hamer Hall was the perfect choice with its dynamic acoustics and comfortable seats, it is always a joy to attend shows in this iconic theatre. As I made my way in with none other than Brian Cadd walking next to me I knew it would be a who’s who of the music industry in attendance, all stepping out to witness the musical brilliance that is Jimmy Webb. The show is titled Jimmy Webb and Friends, I certainly wish I had friends like David Campbell, Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Kate Ceberano and Ed Kuepper to accompany me for a little sing-a-long!
This live collaboration was a spectacular affair from the first song until the last, with our Aussie superstars doing justice to every tune, all honoured to be sharing the stage with such a living legend of the industry. Jimmy’s stunning wife Laura Savini opened the show with a brief history of how the show was the brainchild of John Zaccaria, and it was his fabulous idea to add a full band and orchestra to the mix with some of our most prestigious singers on offer.
The man himself took the stage to huge applause and welcomed David Campbell to join him for The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. We know that good pipes run in the family, but he is definitely a crooner not a screamer like his superstar Dad! His voice like liquid velvet, melting hearts with every word sung. Kate Ceberano was next with If These Walls Could Speak, looking radiant and sounding amazing, with a smile that could light up a room, Kate was such a pleasure to watch perform. Jimmy then performed a lovely compilation of gospels song starting with I Will Arise. His piano an extension of his hands, lovingly tinkling while he chatted, such a fine storyteller. Next, The Worst That Could Happen, and Where’s The Playground Susie? accompanied by Jimmy Barnes, with an all-star cast of backup singers popping out to accompany, each finding their sweet spot and serenading perfectly, Kate’s sultry vocals blending beautifully.
Whistles and applause saw Ian Moss take to the stage for Didn’t We? His voice as smooth as caramel and very different from how we normally see him. A nightingale in wolves clothing, singing sweetly and making the ladies swoon. Jimmy Barnes was the perfect selection for Galveston, he did joke that he got in first and picked what he wanted with Galveston being one of his all-time favourite tunes. He sang with passion, not a scream to be heard, he did a sterling job of this song made famous by Glen Campbell back in 1969. The father/son duet of Barnes and Campbell finished out set one with Wichita Lineman, I felt truly blessed to witness such an exceptional conclusion to what was a most amazing first half.
After a brief refreshment break Ed Kuepper made his first appearance with The Hive, then Jimmy Barnes joined him for a hilarious duet of Honey Come Back, singing to each other like lovers which gave us all a good belly laugh. The duo of Jimmy’s then shared their secret, a new song, When The Loving Was Easy, and what a cracker it was, Jimmy Webb pulling these rippers out of his never-ending songbook with ease. Kate and David took on the huge All I Know, making us all sigh, so beautifully performed it could warm the coldest of hearts. Ian Moss returned sans his guitar treating us to an exquisite performance of By The Time I Get To Phoenix, all I can say is WOW, Mossy knocked it out of the park with this timeless track, so very impressive. It was all hands on deck for Up, Up and Away, voices mixing perfectly for this exemplary hit. Written at a time when drugs were at the forefront of most songs, Jimmy did reassure us that it really is just a song about ‘balloons’, giving us all a giggle. His humour over the course of the evening was very entertaining, and while it was a mature based audience, they certainly ‘got’ his jokes and laughed along enjoying every minute. David swooned through Adios sharing the vocals with Jimmy Webb a gorgeous addition to the setlist. We all knew MacArthur Park was coming and we lived in hope that Kate would be the one to sing it. Luck was definitely on our side as Kate glided onto the stage, stating she was feeling the pressure of singing this worldwide hit. She needn’t have worried, she was superb, the orchestra and band sublime as the song built as only MacArthur Park can. Mossy even treated us to a blistering solo in the middle which really rocked it up. Kate took it to celestial heights by its conclusion, leaving us all feeling like we were in seventh heaven. The Highwayman was our final song of the evening, Barnsey, David, Kate and Ed sang it with the respect it deserved, it was the perfect finale for this wonderful night.
We were all on our feet for a standing ovation as final bows were taken. The audience was spellbound from start to finish, with phones left respectfully in bags and pockets, everyone living in the moment, which is a rarity these days. With only Sydney and Melbourne privy to these shows I feel like I got to witness something very special that will never be seen again. As Jimmy said, sometimes he wishes he could put things ‘on ice’ so they aren’t forgotten, well tonight’s show will be frozen in my memory forever.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
With close to 90,000 people flooding Melbourne for State of Origin it was reaching gridlock as I joined the unending line that was reaching the top of Hosier Lane. The fans were hyped, the wait has been long for a double header of this magnitude and we answered by selling it out as only the Melbourne fans can do.
After a quick stop at the merch desk it was off to the floor to grab a good vantage point, front and centre did me nicely as I waited for Mr Big to kick things off. In splendid fashion they opened with Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song) the crowd went crazy and yes, they did crack out the tools, playing their guitars with the help of electric drills, not your average start to a gig. In saying that it was not your average musicians on stage either, when you have the likes of Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan sharing the stage you feel like you are in the presence of rock royalty. They both treated us to blistering solos over the course of the show and some terrific duelling. Paul had his guitar face on which was mighty expressive, his passion for his instrument leaching out his fingers which every note. Billy slapped his bass as only he can, leaving the fans speechless, it was easy to see why he is a multi award winner.
Alive and Kickin’ had us all singing along Eric Martin worked the crowd like a true professional, his microphone stand complete with a steeling wheel base. Take Cover was dedicated to the late great Pat Torpey who we lost earlier this year. It was a very fitting tribute and I sure he would be looking down at Matt Starr on the kit with a smile on his face. Matt’s drumming was fierce, his heaviness providing the backbone of songs like Everybody Need A Little Trouble of the latest album Defying Gravity. The Cat Stevens cover of Wild World was a terrific addition and Just Take My Heart had all the girls swooning. Addicted To That Rush had the punters bouncing, loving every minute, but I think the band were loving it even more. We have waited a bloody long time to see Mr Big here in Australia and everyone was basking in their rock goodness. Eric was quite playful, wrapping his arms around Billy to take over the bass duties while Billy cracked out the harmonica or a stray hit of a cymbal as he flew past the drum kit. They are a very cohesive bunch and it showed from go to whoa. Green-Tined Sixties Mind another choice track from the album Lean Into It that had everyone bopping, loudly singing along.
Everyone was waiting for To Be With You, it certainly didn’t disappoint as phones were held aloft to capture a memory for later, the crowd loved it taking over the vocals for the better part of the song. Then the finisher and what a song to end it on Colorado Bulldog, the fans revelling in the brilliance that Mr Big delivered, leaving everyone completely satisfied and hopeful that the wait won’t be as long next time.
The magnificent Forum Theatre was literally bulging at the seams, it had swelled to capacity as Extreme fans turned out in force. The twenty-five year wait has been long but it was worth every day of every year to finally have them back in Melbourne. It was a very respectful fan base, all happy for the opportunity to see this awesome foursome live, it was smiles all round as we waited for the lights to drop. Taking their places under the cover of darkness Extreme exploded from the shadows in a wash of lights and colour with the massive opener It(‘s a Monster) followed by Li’l Jack Horny. Everyone was losing their minds as Get The Funk Out rang out, totally in awe of the what was unfolding before us. With an opening trifecta of that stature it was going to be one hell of a night!
What can I say about Gary Cherone, his energy is effervescent, bouncing from the drum riser to cover every millimetre of the stage with ease. He delivered some very cheeky poses to the photographers and I swear he was a Cirque De Soleil performer in a past life. His fluidity was mind blowing, his stamina undying, he is the quintessential front man that any band would kill to call their own. Oh and let’s not forget, he can really belt out a tune, sounding as good today as he did twenty-five years ago.
The hits (and there are many) kept flying out, Rest In Peace, Hip Today and Play With Me next on the list, I am still gobsmacked at how Gary delivered Play With Me live, the lyrics lightning quick and yet he does not miss a beat. Kevin Figueiredo, affectionally known as KFig gave us a sample of his sensational skin hitting partnered with Nuno on his own stand alone drum station, they fed off each other beautifully and treated us to a sensational drumming duet. A few lucky fans managed to snag a memento as Nuno lobbed his drumsticks to the crowd. Shortened versions of Tragic Comic/Whole Hearted saw Nuno hit the stage looking smooth in a suit jacket and hat and KFig move up close to the fans as a small drum kit magically appeared in front of my eyes. The punters singing loud, awash with happiness to have all four members up close and personal.
The needle on my fangirl meter flew to red at warp speed as Nuno Bettencourt took to a stool for Midnight Express. His jokes and banter with the crowd was sensational and in all honestly, I don’t think it was just the girls who were fangirling! The man-love for Nuno was obvious by the crowd that swelled around his microphone, was it for his astonishing guitar skills or his sexy good looks who knows. His shredding skills are exemplary, his guitar an extension of his body, never showy just musical perfection at its finest. Add to this a voice as smooth as honey and Nuno really is the complete package.
Cupid’s Dead was amazing and Am I Ever Gonna Change and Take Us Alive had the crowd rocking. It was return of the stools for More Than Words, Gary and Nuno not required to sing, we knew all the words and we sang them loud and proud. It was a special moment, driven with emotion and passion by all in attendance. Now time to talk Pat Badger, as far as bass players go he is the glue holding this tight knit unit together. Pat is the backbone of Extreme, he is an unbelievably talented musician and has stage presence like no other, not to mention his outstanding vocals. He feeds of the crowd and his enjoyment in performing was evident all night.
Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee saw Nuno’s hands possessed with the spirit of rock and roll, the fans transfixed as he blew as all away with his blistering speed and precision. As He-man Woman Hater followed on Pat quickly walked out with a setlist in hand, pointing out that Nuno was off track, with that He-Man shut down they launched into the final song of the night Decadence Dance. I swear if the roof wasn’t so high we would have lifted it off, the crowd screaming the lyrics back at fever pitch, and amazing song to end what will be known as the gig of the year. As Peace filtered out of the speakers the band took to the pit to thank the fans. Gary walking across the barrier as Pat and KFig happily shook hands and high fived the adoring fans, and as Nuno got to me I must say I did hold on probably a little longer than I should have, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t let pass by. It was such a fitting way to thank the fans for there support and the perfect finish to the night.
The headline read, it’s gonna be BIG and it’s gonna be EXTREME, last night was a show of gargantuan proportions, and blew that headline out of the water. It was bigger than BIG and not just EXTREME but supreme. I speak for everyone who was there last night when I say get the FUNK back here real soon, we will be waiting with open arms.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale
I was thankful for arriving at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre when I did. Not five minutes after my arrival, hoards of fans took their place in line, which very quickly grew, reaching up the street and around the corner. The long line of waiting fans only heightened everyone’s excitement. I had to giggle when I overheard a couple of passers-by conversation, “Extreme & Mr Big? Never heard of them, it’s probably that shit dance music”. Boy, do they need educating! Pretty soon we were all about to witness a paramount double header with two prodigious guitar virtuoso’s between them.
At 7pm on the dot, the doors to the Enmore were flung open and the crowd of fans made their way inside, to take their positions. Securing my favourite spot on the barrier (Hey, I’m short. I need to ensure a good view, to produce a decent review.. Or so I lead everyone to believe. Perhaps I’m just a big fan girl and have no shame in my greed) I quickly threw a cheesy grin to Security, who ever so kindly took a photo of each set list for me. Thanks guys!
Time always seems to stand still when waiting for an amazing performance and tonight was no different. 45 minutes felt like 2 hours, but a wait that was worth every second.
A brief moment of darkened silence, before Mr Big erupted on to the stage. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song) saw everyone moving and singing along. What a way to open a show.
Eric Martins vocals were unchanged and powerful, even at 57 years old. He is still spot on with every single note and can I just say, the man, just like his voice, has not aged a day. I want to know your secrets, Eric.
For many, we re-lived our teenage years, with hits such as Just Take My Heart, To Be With You, Green-Tinted Sixties Mind, Colorado Bulldog and even Cat Stevens classic Wild World.
Open Your Eyes and Everybody Needs a Little Trouble from their latest album Defying Gravity were also played and enjoyed by the crowd.
Paul Gilbert was of course, an absolute whiz on his Ibanez, with his trademark shredding. I expected nothing less than mind-blowing from the legend. The man doesn’t need to talk, when his fingers can do it for him. My expectations were met and exceeded, especially during his solo. Wow! I found myself saying that a lot throughout the night.
Matt Starr did a smashing job, sitting in Pat Torpeys throne, who sadly passed away earlier this year due to complications with Parkinson’s disease.
Eric, introducing Matt as their “brother in arms”, while making certain to keep Torpey’s memory alive through his music. Eric dedicating Take Cover to him. Devoted Torpey fans, yelling out “Rest in Peace” and “We love you Torpey“. I felt priveleged to be a part of that moment.
Matt Starr slotting in nicely, was amazing to watch. Not only for his skillful technique, but his sensational facial expressions, while playing.
I was fortunate enough to be standing right in front of Billy Sheehan, I was absolutely mesmerised by the man. I thought I had seen some talented bass players, but this man was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed. While I tried to keep my focus shared on all members of the band, Billy kept stealing it and that’s not a bad thing at all. Witnessing a duel between Sheehan and Gilbert in which they both used a drill to strum their strings, was an absolute treat and highlight. I kept wondering if Extreme would match the show that Mr Big gave us, they left big boots to fill.
After a brief change over, I was about to find out.
Through the darkness, Extreme made their way on to the stage. I watched them in the shadows, waiting. My heart was pounding, I was actually nervous.
An explosion of lights and it was all happening. I didn’t know where to look first, there was so much energy on one stage. Gary Cherone bouncing around and contorting across the stage, he was so animated. Nuno Bettencourt and Pat Badger moving from front of stage to the sides of Kevin Figueiredo’s kit, giving us a show of their talents.
Playing three tracks, back to back from Extreme II: Pornograffitti – It(‘s a Monster), Li’l Jack Horny and Get The Funk Out, I couldn’t believe that after all these years, they still have so much stamina. They still have IT!
It’s been a long time between shows, 25 years to be precise. Nuno and Gary were apologetic, promising they would come back again. Nuno announcing that he had family in the crowd, I think everyone in the room was family.
Kevin Figueiredo was unrelenting on drums, he didn’t miss a beat. If he did, no-one noticed. While everyone was anticipating Nuno’s solo in Play With Me, he surprised us all when he jumped on percussions and duelled it out with Kevin. Nothing short of amazing. The brief cable fault during Nuno’s solo, in Play With Me (which he did eventually play) wasn’t a drama. Nuno laughing it off, before restarting. There was such a great vibe in the room, I’m sure everyone felt it.
I was absolutely enthralled for the entire duration of the set. Gary’s resonant vocals were impeccable. Any and every problem that may have been going on outside of the venue, melted away. For just one night, we were taken away from reality and damn it felt good.
The band fed off the crowd, as the crowd fed from the band. Nuno recommending, we all meet up outside after the show, to create our own band. “What a band it would be”.
Nuno, an absolute mastermind on guitar, played his signature Washburn N4-Vintage Electric Guitar, while strutting around the stage and lending his very awesome backing vocals. It was hard to keep my eyes off him.
Pat Badger moved around the stage with a precise amount of attitude, while working his bass, throwing the occasional pick out to fans. Thanks to that lovely security guard, that I befriended earlier, I am also a proud owner of one of Pat’s picks. It pays to be nice to Security!
The hits were belted out, Hole Hearted, Midnight Express, Cupid’s Dead including an intro from the Soul Classic by Sam Cooke – Cupid.
Nuno and Gary took a seat front of stage to play the biggest hit of their career, the well-loved ballad More Than Words. Gary and Nuno’s harmonising has always been evoking, that hasn’t changed. Gary motioning for the crowd to sing the first verse. What a moment, the crowd almost surpassing the volume of Gary and Nuno. A smile was on everyone’s face.
The stage now empty, with the exception of Nuno, who asked in jest, “Where’d everyone go, are we breaking up again? I don’t need those guys anyway, I do what I want”. The crowd roared with laughter.
Nuno in the spotlight, entertained us with Flight of The Wounded Bumblebee, his fingering is immaculate, just WOW! Moving in to He-Man Woman Hater, however it was cut short, due to time constraints. Closing the show for the evening, was Decadence Dance.
Extreme did the obligatory thank you, before jumping down from the stage and walking along the barrier, shaking hands and hi-fiving the crowd. I swear, I’m never washing my hand again! I wished the night didn’t have to end, but as the saying goes “all good things must come to an end”.
I hope we don’t have to wait another 25 years before they return.
Review Contributed by Trudy Johnson
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED ROGER BROOKS
After a tyre blow out on the freeway and a quick change of tyres and cars, I set off on my drive from Sydney to Wollongong, in great anticipation of the Jimmy Barnes Festival, hosted by Yours & Owls.
I managed to secure a parking spot, a short 10 minute walk from McCabe Park, where the days festivities, were being held.
Unfortunately, due to my earlier incident, I missed the 2:30pm opening act, “Mental As Anything“.
As I walked through the gates, I was overwhelmed by the crowd of people, that had gathered to enjoy the days line-up. An estimated 5000 people were moving all about the park, looking for an unobstructed, comfortable spot, to watch the show.
I joined a queue, to grab a bite to eat and grab some cold water, for the duration of Diesel’s set. I enjoyed the change that Diesel had given his songs, slowed right down, with an almost blues feel to them.
Food and water finally in hand, I found a place to sit, and was able to enjoy a set from Ian Moss. Mossy played some songs from his new self titled CD, that’s due for release in March of this year. He dedicated a song to his nephew in-law and wished him well.
The crowd sang along to some favourites, including “Choir Girl“, “Telephone Booth” “My Baby“, and closed with “Bow River“. Mossy informed the crowd that the ‘Gong and Newcastle were the first places that put on Aussie Rock shows.
He gave a heartfelt thanks and assured his fans that he would never forget them.
During the half an hour change over, I decided to relocate closer to the stage. Queens “Bohemian Rhapsody” played over the speakers, which sent the crowd in to a singing frenzy.
The atmosphere down the front, was a lot more energetic, than the laid back crowd further back. The sky was turning grey by this time, with the impending threat of rain.
Daryl Braithwaite was up next and I have to say, the biggest surprise of the day for me.
Braithwaite looked fit and in great form. He announced he would be singing some newer songs, and songs that go back to the “Sherbet” period. Braithwaite’s voice was just as I remember it. He definitely still has it, even after all these years.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Howzat” and “You’ve Got The Gun“, dating back to the Sherbet days.
It was great to see younger fans sporting a Daryl Braithwaite T-shirt and getting amongst the older fans. The crowd sang along and danced to popular hits, such as “As the Days Go By” and “One Summer“. Braithwaite even covered a Kinks song “All Day And All Of The Night“, which was well received. Braithwaite chose to close his set with “Horses“. It was at this moment, people from the back of the park, raced forward toward the stage, to take part in singing the famous song.
For the duration of the song, everyone sang in unison. Strangers, arm in arm, swaying along, with a massive smile on their faces. I think it’s safe to say that any glitches from earlier in the day, had now been forgotten and everyone was enjoying themselves.
Another half an hour break, day turning in to night, and Jimmy Barnes was due to hit the stage. I turned around to look at the crowd, as far as the eye could see, everyone was now out of their seats, up off their rugs and standing, waiting for Barnesy to grace us with his presence. We didn’t have to wait too long, Barnesy took to the stage with his band, including his son Jackie on drums, his daughters Elly-May, Eliza-Jane and Mahalia, as well as his stunning wife Jane, on backing vocals.
For the next hour and a half, I was taken back to my youth, as Barnsey belted out all the favourites, such as “Die To Be With You“, “Ride The Night Away“, “Working Class Man“, “Merry Go Round“,”Khe Sanh“, “No Second Prize“, “Flame Trees” and “Driving Wheels“.
Not even the short burst of rain, could wipe the smile off my face – Barnsey proclaiming that he had scared the rain off. Barnesy threw in a cover of AC/DC’s “High Voltage“, during his encore, and ended the festival with “Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)“.
The festival concluded at 9:30pm, with the thousands of patrons all rushing to the one exit point of the park. Security did extremely well to manage the crowd, which I noticed all throughout the event. Any grievances were dealt with swiftly and appropriately.
I walked out of the gates of McCabe park smiling, feeling content that I had an enjoyable experience.
Review Contributed by Trudy Johnson
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED ROGER BROOKS