Sunday, February 06, 2011

#250: All Cats Are Grey

And then came Merlin. And the Merlin was fat. And the Merlin was grey. And furry. With long, sharp claws and fangs. For Merlin was, and indeed still is, a cat. Work that out.

Personal Jesus's last party
The joys of entertainment in downtown Adelaide are few and far between. Now that isn’t the fault of anyone in particular, indeed we have to compete with, of all places, Perth for major entertainment. Why is this? Because concert promoters believe that we can’t draw a decent crowd. That’s despite the fact that the last time U2 and Robbie Williams were here they squeezed as much as 60,000+ people into each show, and Pink did a series of seemingly never ending shows. But that’s what passes for entertainment. Gone are the days when the likes of David Bowie insist on doing a show in every major capital city. It could be worse though, we could all be living in Hobart.

Despite this we’ve managed to have some great riots over the years. Those who were there still talk with a certain fondness about the legendary Sandii & The Sunsetz riots at Glenelg. That’s right, we did riot for AC/DC and fences were torn apart for Deep Purple, but one of the most notorious riots of the past 30 years in this fine city was done to the sounds of Sticky Music. That’s hardcore to the extreme. Cold Chisel, the Angels, Radio Birdman – all of those bands who played at the Largs Pier and around the suburbs never gathered so many drunken yahoos in the one place hell-bent on beating the crap out of each other. Come back Sandii, this city needs more than a enema, it needs a catheter.

Sandii and her Sunsetz kept on playing though, unlike the mighty Zeppelin, who’d flee the stage at the merest hint of a firecracker. They should have just let John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham drum away with one of his 2 hour drum solos. Before you argue that they didn’t last two hours, bear in mind there is a story that John Paul Jones once had time to return to his hotel room, have a nap, get up, crimp one off, clean up and head back to the show in time to pick up where he left off. All that time Bonzo was beating on the drums like a chimpanzee. That ain’t working, that’s the way to do.

I’m not sure if I’d have enjoyed Zeppelin live. Certainly there’s a few shows that I’ve seen and heard since that sound like a cracking time was had by all, but the bigger they got the worse they played. Most of the time Jimmy Page’s solos sound like he had eight broken fingers and had just shot up. One of those is true, you work out which one it was. In the studio, magnificent. Live, well, I think a cover band would have sufficed. But in the era of the 1970s most people were so stoned that someone coming out and pissing into an amp would be hailed as the best show ever. Otherwise how do you explain Emerson Lake and Palmer? Or Rick Wakeman.

A wanker. Not as big a wanker as Richard Stubbs though.
Rick Wakeman. God, I loathed that guy. If the old adage that you’d not cross the road to see someone is in effect then I’d not open the curtains watch Rick (with a silent ‘P’). Overblown, pompous, no wonder he was in Yes. And he wore a cape. And was serious about it. My favourite memory of Rick (with a silent ‘P’) was that, at the nadir of his fame, he ‘toured’ Australia and yes, he did play Adelaide. Kind of. I recall clearly – and those who also remember verify my own fading memory – that while he was here Rick (with a silent ‘P’) played the Central Districts Football Club at Elizabeth back in 1979(ish). A further cry from Wembley you’d not get unless you played at a BBQ, which, really, he did. The sausage sizzle did well that night as it had to be placed outdoors to accommodate Rick (with a silent ‘P’) and his cape. And there was a free can of coke for everyone who attended and paid the $1.65 cover charge. He might have played the piano on Live On Mars, but he didn’t play it that night. No Royal Albert Hall, more a dingy stage consisting of a piece of flat wood supported by milk crates and bricks and a PA system that generated about 10 watts.

It's Swanee Season!
That’s what he gets for being a hippy – not even good enough to play the Elizabeth West Workings Man Club, a venue where I saw many a good act, including Swanee, who used to get pelted with pies at the Downs Pub back in the mid 1970s when, pissed as a fart, he’d start singing along to whatever was playing on the jukebox. He never worked at Holdens, so the joke was on the pie chuckers. I’m sure that some of those same morons ended up paying to see him in the 1980s and would probably say, “I used to know him when…” and omitted the words, “…I’d throw a pie with sauce at him to shut his fat fucking face.” Now he tours the country playing in tributes to Led Zeppelin and Bon Scott, which is apt, and he’s rejoined the Party Boys. And he’s coming back to Adelaide.
Watch them pies!

Oh, bugger it, head out and see him play live. Take a pie, cover it in sauce, take a few bites, throw it at the stage and start a riot. Bring back the old days I say, riots, pies and coke cans flying through the air to the soundtrack of vintage Countdown episodes. I’d pay money to see that, but the best riots are at free gigs, where the beer does flow and the men chunder. Memories…ain’t they sweet?


slartibartfast said...

I was at the AC/DC concert that 'rioted'.

A car got tipped over and a few dozen people pulled down a piece of fence and ran into the crowd. Was a glorious sideshow to an otherwise awesome concert.

I was hoping for more of a riot at the Dire Straights concert. Some loser thought having the Bushwacka band as the support act was a great idea. If the totally stoned crowd could have found their feet there would have been whaling and a beating, especially on the idiot with the beer cap covered rhythm stick.

Oh for the days of the $10 buck triple gig at the Thebby. Boom crash opera with the Michael Hutchence wanna be, Venetians and Gangagang....

luck with the gigs, break a leg!

Anonymous said...

Led Zeppelin were often poor live. Plant would do a pointless Elvis riff. I was once follwed by an idiot who kept asking me to buy his Zep bootlegs for hundreds of dollars. As if. And when I say follow, I mean bombard with phone calls and chase after in a car. When he eventually looked at my collection, he came up with the alternate plan of swapping for a video of Pete Whitehead clips. ~Martin