I always suspected that the whole Countdown tour was going to be recorded for subsequent commercial release, and that Melbourne was a likely candidate (given that it was also the location where the show itself was filmed). And last night’s performance at Rod Laver Arena is indeed destined for a DVD player near you sometime later this year.
There were also quite a few changes from previous performances this time around. Whether that was for filming purposes, or because people have simply decided to do things differently, I’m not entirely sure (although the fact that there were sparkly hats on every seat in the floor area was surely no coincidence). A summary:
Molly’s shaggy dog story at the beginning was much shorter, consisting largely of a complaint that he would miss the AFL the next night.
The Countdown Dancers dropped ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ and ‘Xanadu’ from their first-half performances, replacing it with a rendition of ‘Nutbush City Limits’. If the dancers are going to included on the DVD, this is likely because the rights for the last two songs are too expensive.
During the second half dancing, Molly Meldrum came on stage during ‘Mickey’ wearing a cheerleader’s outfit. Not a good look.
There were some momentary sound problems during ‘Run For Paradise’, which Mark Gable solved by kicking the nearest amplifier.
Goanna’s two female singers, Marcia Howard-Gubbins and Rose Bygrave, appeared with the band (apparently they can’t leave Melbourne). This definitely improved the band’s sound, since the backing vocalists, while excellent, just didn’t have quite the right sound for ‘Solid Rock’. Unfortunately, Shane Howard himself wasn’t in such good voice.
Despite promises in the program, Mark Holden did not make an on-stage appearance. (There are two more Melbourne concerts scheduled, so it is theoretically possible.)
Renee Geyer swapped her black poncho for a red poncho, and swapped her two songs around, so she closed on ‘Say I Love You’. This definitely works better as an order. Before ‘Say I Love You’ she commented “I love this song!”; perhaps she read my earlier, bitchier comments.
Sherbet changed their setlist, moving ‘Summer Love’ to the opening and replacing ‘Slipstream’ with ‘Matter Of Time’, complete with Garth lead vocal and a welcome cameo from Joe Camelleri. This worked better on the whole — ‘Howzat’ is such an obvious closer — though the fact that beach balls are launched into the crowd for ‘Summer Love’ means that everything afterwards seems a bit anti-climactic (and indeed many people sat down).
At the end of the day, five songs for Sherbet is still a bit much, a fact confirmed by my mate Arthur who went to the concert with me and who basically had the same reactions I’d had on the first night — great show, but if they cut back on some of the 70s acts, we could have heard more of the 80s ones.
I was chuffed to see a comment on the Newcastle concert review by Mondo Rock mainman Ross Wilson, which I’m reproducing here:
finally we get a review (yours) that mentions the mondos & gives us at least faint praise. we’ve creamed it every night since newc ent cent with crowds in sydney & melb rising as one to their feet during our set & performers back stage giving us 100% peer praise but no newspaper reviews have mentioned us. maybe MR are not retro daggy enuff for some or yet hip enuff for others but our drummer (Kerry from Dragon) is getting really pissed off – at least he knows we are great.
Mondo Rock have indeed “creamed it” at every show, and the fact that the papers haven’t mentioned them (I haven’t done much media checking on the show yet) is nothing short of scandalous. Now I feel guilty for not saying more positive stuff about them in the first review!