Countdown Spectacular 2 Sydney: Late, great and loud

Sydney has a crowding problem. There’s some football match at the stadium next door, so everyone’s late and we don’t kick off until 0745pm. Fortunately, there’s an early cut: Graham Bonnet, shoutier than ever and now officially the show’s worst performer, has ‘Warm Ride’ dropped.

Other than that, there were no changes in the setlist or order from the Brisbane show, though some of the between-songs banter was trimmed.

My Sydney friends didn’t want to spend $159, so for this show I viewed everything from a considerable distance in the upper levels, and concentrated on the video screens rather than the stage performers. The camera work is pretty good, though there’s perhaps a few too many band shots.

By far my favourite camera moment was when journo mate Matthew JC Powell made an appearance in the crowd being hugged by Rick Springfield during his ‘Jesse’s Girl’ participation segment. Springfield, this time sporting a white sleeveless shirt with Orientral characters on it, also got the crowd to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him — a tricky task with ‘Jesse’s Girl’ still playing. (Rick’s birthday was on Thursday).

Kate did a note and word-perfect version of ‘Trust Me’, and Martha remains utterly amazing. By the close, my cheapskate friends were mulling over travelling to another city to catch the show again. Clearly, my brand of madness is catching.

Next stop for me is Melbourne next Thursday (I’m missing Hobart on Tuesday).

Random points:

  • Sharon and M both returned to their Newcastle outfits, though Mr Scott also sported a cap. (I reckon he looks better without it.)
  • Kate alluded to Madonna’s rival cover of ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’, which also surfaced in 1984/5. “I reckon ours was better,” Kate commented, accurately.
  • The Sydney crowd seemed louder than its predecessors, though this also meant ‘Quasimodo’s Dream’ had a clear rumble of audience chatter throughout. Naughty audience!
  • The mic switching during ‘My Generation’ was pretty poor, with many lines being missed entirely.
  • Apparently, one reason for not featuring the finale in Newcastle was the possibility of complaints if the show ran past 11pm. If that was the case, why offer the Radiators an extra song in the first half though?
  • Several viewers of the Brisbane show have commented (via email or here on the blog) that they think the second half of the show lacks a little energy. I can’t say this particularly struck me, but I can see how that perception could emerge: several of the performers showcase ballads in their repertoire (Kate, BSG, Redgum, and pretty much all of Martha).
  • Thanks to everyone for the comments, keep ’em coming!
  • 21 thoughts on “Countdown Spectacular 2 Sydney: Late, great and loud

    1. I’m not able to attend these concerts – but love reading your reviews! Happy Birthday to Rick Springfield…sounds like he is doing a younger than springtime rock on rock hard job in Australia this month. “Jessie’s Girl” of course will always be a favorite and with the encore for the group being “My Generation” – it fits – the tour group and it’s also a song Rick sings in the U.S.A. in concert himself! Very fun – thanks for the outline and pics

    2. Thanks so much for the comments and reviews! It’s exciting to see Rick over there in his home country performing for you guys. We have had him a LONG time (not that we are complaining), and we do like to share on occasion. :-) It’s fun to read your perspectives.

      Thanks again! Glad he got to celebrate his big day with all of you.

      Layton, UT USA

    3. I have really enjoyed your recaps, comments and pictures on the show. It is nice to hear about all the acts but especially(surprise : )Rick! It’s good to hear that Rick has made a triumphant return to Oz. There is nothing better than a Rick show live! It is awesome that those in Rick’s homeland finally get to experience his Amazing, talents & energy. I hope one day you will have the chance to see a full concert …. as it will blow you away even more!!

      Susan F
      Sumner, WA USA

    4. Hey thanks for the Rick Springfield updates and pics from the Countdown Tour. I was looking at and hadn’t been able to find anything. I can’t believe you go to all those shows. Seems a bit tiring, especially with so many acts.

      Thanks again.
      Angie D

    5. LOL at “clearly my brand of madness is catching.” Enjoying your reports
      as I can’t get there from here in the USA. Very happy
      you and many others are getting to enjoy such a great show there.
      Especially Rick Springfield. Not at all surprised he got the crowd to sing
      Happy Birthday to him. ahhahaha! Do, please, keep the reports and photos coming. Having your brand of madness here in the USA for a few
      Rick Springfield shows myself, your reports and photos are very
      much appreciated over here ! Love hearing how well the other artists
      are doing, too.

      Have fun traveling to the rest of your shows!
      Blessings and ALL the good stuff!
      – Mufi
      just north of Boston, Massachusetts USA

    6. Great show I must say.
      Met Rick springfield back stage and got a guitar signed also.
      What a nice guy he is

    7. Countdown Spectacular I was 4 nights of magic for me. I went twice in Sydney, twice in Brisbane and had centre fornt row for all but 1. I did not for a moment regret the ammount of money I spent, nor the hours of lining up in the freezing cold.
      When Sir Michael 1st announced his plans for Countdown Spec II, with international acts, my 1st reaction was “Oh please don’t! I won’t be the same!” Then I imagined a dream line-up that included the likes of ELO and Culture Club on the same bill……
      Not to be! The show, when it came was a mixed bag for me. The Angels, Radiators, Sharon O’Neil, Richard Clapton and Martha Davis made it worthwhile. I am too young to have been a fan of Bay City Rollers and please explain why trashy Sam Fox gets 2 songs, while a class act like Sharon O’Neil gets only 1!
      I’m with Gus when I say too may fillers, not enough songs in their entirity. I so looked forward to hearing Martha sing “Total Control”, why could it have not been in entirity?
      Most of all for me, the vibe was not the same as Countdown Spec I. Why is a sequel so often a let-down? Is it because of the feeling that the “big boys” are so wanting to cash-in on the success of the 1st show, that less of their heart is involved in creating a magical experience?

    8. Can any one tell me how les (bay city rollers ) went, was there heaps of tartan in the crowd

    9. Absolutely fantastic, once again Countdown spectacular has delivered!, I loved all the acts, favourite was the Angels who I thought should have been the last act cos they brought the house down, Rick Springfield, although good paled in comparison
      Hope theres another concert next year!!!!!!!!!!

    10. Dee is a Ferel. You are so fanatical about this with fanaticism that you are beyond help. Seek help! Or are you on today tonight already?

    11. Debbie, who are you??,the Countdown Police?, dont be so defeatist, of course theres room for another concert, there are heaps of other acts, what about, Blondie, Divynls, Rose Tattoo, Cold Chisel, The Human League, Kate Bush, Bonnie Tyler, Patrick Hernandez, The Vapours,B52’s, Mental as Anything, Kim Wylde, Billy Idol, Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran, Aha, Adam and the Ants, Bucks Fizz, Dextys Midnight Runners,The Buggles, John Mellencamp, The Bangels, Sheena Easton and the list goes on!

    12. Scott, if you are who I think you are, then you are one to talk about ferrel! I have not forgotten that night on Oxford Street. I am not on Today tonight, but my undies were part of last year’s Countdown Spectacular special on Sunday, channel 9.

    13. Well, The RADIATORS Rocked, biggest disappointment was them only performing one song, (having originally x2 songs, then dropped to 1 song because of Molly’s introductory speel and carry on…) I went to see the Great AUSSIE bands perform mostly, of who seemed to have the least time allocated. THE RADIATORS still continue to be performing and packing venues for the past 20+ years…. How many of the featured acts have ever had another hit…. and yet, they perform ONE SONG, Go figure…. The show had 11 overseas artists and 11 local artists, I know we had overseas guests appear on Countdown, but isn’t it meant to be about us…. THE AUSSIE’S. If Molly can manage another tour next year, I will be one, of many, to really think about going again and being terribly disappointed. Countdown was a big part of my life growing up and I honestly believed that Molly was one who always supported and promoted our local talent, but having seen and heard what has happened throughout this tour, to say the least is dismal. Even seperate after-partys for the aussie and overseas acts!!!!! Now if that’s not making our local guys feel a bit second rate what **** is ?????????????

    14. Personally, I like the Aussie and local mix — it certainly makes for a more varied show. Though I agree it’s frustrating when people like Sharon get stuck with one song, we had the same problem last year — the Eurogliders, for instance, got very short-changed. And why didn’t Rick do ‘I’ve Done Everything For You’?

      BTB, I still suspect the only reason the Radiators got an extra song in Newcastle was because Plastic Bertrand didn’t appear in that show, and getting them to add a song (as virtually the only standalone band in the show with a fullly rehearsed current show) would have been easy.

    15. Newcastle last year had an extra song from Jo Jo Zep? I wasn’t at that particular show. Miss Vicki, I’d consider going to CS 3 -especially if they do manage to get Culture Club and ELO on the same line-up. Ms Newton John could sing “Xanadu” with ELO……
      Back down to Earth, I too preferrred the all-Aussie line-up of CS 1. Countdown was an Aussie creation, just like most of the performers and I think it added to the overall vibe.
      Besides, I had a real thing for one those Aussie guys, but that is too embarrassing to talk about.

    16. Phillip, just about every act you’ve listed is out there touring in their own right and certainly doesn’t need or want a Countdown tour to bring them back. The Countdown concept is 99% nostalgia and most acts are rarely if ever seen on stage here, certainly not on a big stage. Last year the big drawcards were Hush and Sherbet and Mondo Rock, who all reformed especially. This year it was Rick, who hadn’t toured back home since forever, and all those overseas one- or two-hit wonder acts that had neither been seen nor heard of since. If you can’t see how firmly my tongue is in my cheek when I talk of Pussyfoot and Roger Voudouris then maybe you need to sit down, get out your old Bucks Fizz records, and lighten up!! (Bucks Fizz… god help us!)

      As for Felicity’s comment about fanaticism, my Countdown page exists in the context of a much bigger website all about my life and career. I work in the music industry as a PR consultant, journalist, author (I wrote a huge book that was published two years ago called Songwriters Speak) and sometime radio presenter/guest. I currently do a weekly segment on the ABC Gold Coast station. Before I became professional I had various fun adventures in radio and music that I decided to share with the world. You can take it or leave it. I just came upon Gus’s fine blog and thought I’d share my experience of CS2 and photos with all of you. That’s all.

      Happy APEC Weekend to you all.


    17. Well I went to the Brisbane show and they cut The Radiators to only one song which was a disgrace when you have people like Samantha Fox!!! singing 2 and Ignatius Jones had 2??? I mean the Countdown backing singers that came out and did a melody got more time then The Rads which is unbelievable considering they are not known at all. The Radiators are still going strong and everytime put on a terrific performance. After 30 years of still playing around Australia they deserve better than that.

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