Sound Relief

Yes, we got tickets. Well, I got tickets; my IT-pro husband has decided that I am the one to do online bookings and ticket purchasing. And in just 7 minutes of refreshing I got tickets. We’re old, so I bought seats; I couldn’t bear the thought of standing for 12 hours, or having to sit in the mud. As it turned out, this was a very good thing, since it rained for about a third of the day, and we didn’t get too wet, because I bought the best tickets in the entire world. We were in the second tier of seat at the G, in what is officially the Members Stand, and we were just far enough back that – except when the rain was going horizontal – we didn’t get wet at all. Hurrah! We were also right in front of the stage, so basically I am the Ticket Buying Master.

We got to the G a bit before midday, having not drowned in the torrential rain; this was quite an achievement. We left a bit before 11pm, again having not got too wet throughout the entire day. There were a couple of points at which we saw blue sky, but not many. I was viciously pleased to see that Sydney got some rain, too; is that mean? Not that I’m complaining about the rain per se, of course; we needs rain, precious, and we loves it. I’m just not a huge fan of being out in it. We had surprisingly few people around us; given it was meant to have been sold out, I think a few people must have piked out because of the rain. Also, I guess some didn’t come to their seats and just stayed standing up, probably propping up the rather expensive bar ($6 for a cup of Carlton Draught?? Hello…). Also, I have to say that a lot of the MCs were shite; they got basically every major Melbourne FM station to send along one of their DJs, and… it was just bad, mostly. Hamish and Andy were the best, even though I don’t always like their style; they were lightyears better than Gold FM’s Grubby and Deedee (urgh).

Anyway, what follows here are my rough thoughts on the whole day… which I’ll admit to basing on what I wrote on the day, which J thought was utterly hilarious and nerdy.

Jet: first up – a bit boring, and I felt a bit sad for them, because the crowd was largely disinterested and still coming in to boot. They then flew off to double up in Sydney; I hope they got a better reception there.
Gabrielle Cilmi: who?? I had actually heard of her, because she appeared with the Cat Empire for the Aus Open grand final concert; but seriously – who?? 17 years old, apparently youngest ever ARIA winner. Woohoo. She started with a verse of “Buy me a Mercedes Benz,” which had me amazing all these kids thinking it was her original…. Her band seemed to be made up of her Dad’s friends – old men! – and she finished with “Whole Lotta Love,” which made me nearly wet myself with laughter.
Coldplay, live from Sydney: yes, we got some stuff broadcast from Sydney, and vice versa, which was a really nice touch.I enjoyed Coldplay more than I expected, since I usually think they’re just whingy Brits.
Kings of Leon: a short set, but not bad.
Hoodoo Gurus, from Sydney: they’ve very cool for old blokes! for young blokes too, actually.
Paul Kelly: got a better reception than I was expecting from a fairly young audience; people didn’t seem to be paying much attention to him but every song got a rousing round of applause. I have a love/hate relationship with Kelly; I love his songs, but I hate them because they often make me cry.
Little Birdy, from Sydney: I love them!
Augie March: better than I expected, but I still see them as filler.
Architecture in Helsinki, from Sydney: didn’t find them that interesting.
Bliss n Eso: the only ‘urban’ act on the bill, J was very dubious, but he really enjoyed them – they have a brilliant stage presence and routine, and they worked the crowd exceptionally well. I liked their utter self-deprecation. And I quite liked their music too.
You am I, from Sydney: not really my thing.
Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson and Troy Cassar-Daley: for a set that’s really not my scene, they were ok.
Josh Pyke, from Sydney: we just didn’t get enough of him! We loves Joshy, eh, ?
Liam Finn and friends: the first couple of songs he did with Barnesy’s daughter EJ, and the first half of each was fine… but each one degenerated into self-indulgent bashing of instruments that utterly lacked musicality. Then he was joined by Tim and Neil Finn, and they broke out a couple of Crowded House songs, which everyone sang along to, and Liam was redeemed (a bit. Not much). Basically everyone singing along.
Taylor Swift, from Sydney: who the hell?? Funniest moment: she ripped her long black dress down the front to reveal a little gold dress underneath.
Jack Johnson: a man and a guitar and nothing else. Very Roy Orbison. Gosh he’s good.
Eskimo Joe, from Sydney: I do like the Joe. I do wish they’d sing the Sweater song still though.
Wolfmother: sadly for them, it was during their set that the rain was going horizontal, which of course stuffed up the sound for them. But they still rocked out. (As an aside, I think Andrew Stockdale chose new member of the band based on whether their hair matched his or not.)
Funniest moment of the whole night: a recording of earlier in the afternoon, John Farnham singing “You’re the Voice” with Coldplay. Every single person in the 80,000 crowd sang along, every single word. Truly we are a nation of patriotic bogans. Me included.
Kylie: suddenly appearing on stage after the minute’s silence, which most people observed (except for some drunken yobs). And making everyone sing along to “I am – you are – we are Australian” (with words on the screen! No trust of the Australian public).
Hunter and Collectors: oh. my. goodness. I had no idea they rocked so. hard. They were utterly, utterly brilliant. They finished with “The Slab,” which I’d never heard before but which is the most amazing pub rock thrash song. I LOVE the Hunters. And again, everyone sang along with “Holy Grail,” which was an awesome moment.
Presets, from Sydney: woohoo! So glad we got a little of this set.
Split Enz: a lot weirder than I think a lot of people would have expected; I had a hunch they would be. They started slowly but they finished well, and I really enjoyed them.
Icehouse, from Sydney: one of the bands I was a bit sad not to have in Melbourne, so again I’m glad we got them for a couple of songs… including, of course, “Great Southern Land.”
and, finally…
Midnight Oil: who were, frankly, the reason we went. Interestingly, it was almost a let down. They were what we expected – we’ve seen them live on DVD (from Wave Aid, and that live gig they released before breaking up), and they basically lived up to expectations. Which was fine, except that the Hunters had blown expectations out of the water; really, anything after that was going to be a little flat. Don’t get me wrong – they were good, Garret was as nutty a dancer as I could have hoped for – but opening with “Redneck Wonderland” felt odd, and… like I said, they met expectations, but didn’t exceed them

Overall, it was one of the greatest 11-hour stretches in memory. I’m so very glad we went, since we’ve been regretting not going up to Wave Aid for about four years now. No more regrets! I have seen the Oils live! And Hunters and Collectors!

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