@ A Day On The Green
Kings Park & Botanic Garden
04/02/18 (Live Review)
“I’m glad you came I’m sorry about the weather.” The weather that John Farnham was referring to was the bizarre winter storm that tore through Perth in mid-December, when the concert was originally slated. But there was no faulting the perfect summer night conditions or the concert which showcased Farnham’s undeniable charm.
The Badloves opened up proceedings as the crowds started situating themselves early on giving Kate Cebrano a sizable audience to perform to. The self-proclaimed ‘woman of rock’ proceeded to kill it with a performance that shone with her earthy sultriness and fiery attitude. With originals like Brave and Pash, Cebrano also paid homage to her influences with an empowering version of The Divinyls’ I Touch Myself and Prince’s Raspberry Beret. The only hiccup was a disconnected mic, soon into Bedroom Eyes, leaving Cebrano exasperated by the lack of attention by the stage crew, “We want men to notice a change in our demeanour… ah I’m just taking the piss.”
In comparison Dad-rockers Mondo Rock were a more straight down the line affair rolling out a surprising number of well known hits including Chemistry and Summer of 81. Frontman Ross Wilson gestured to the crowd whilst singing with a cool ease through State of The Heart, and Come Said The Boy, one of the best Australian pop-rock songs written by guitarist Eric McCusker.
John Farnham is one of the most successful artists in Australian rock, an AO recipient and an inductee into the ARIA Hall of Fame, yet it’s arguably his cheery, larrikinism that has made him a candidate for ‘national treasure’. When fans come they want to see Farnham’s mic stand kicks, the banter, the high notes and his staccato mic tapping which they got straight out of the gate with We Will Rock You and the ambitious Reasons from breakthrough album 1986’s Whispering Jack.
Farnham backed by the band he’s been touring with for years, took a few songs to warm his voice up but once it did what followed was an hour or so of powerhouse hits. Farnham excels with grandiose songs where everything matters; the keys are just as important as the drums, which are just as important as the blue-eyed soul driven vocals.
Obviously Farnham’s done this thousands of times before but he still approached songs like the inspirational Age Of Reason, and Chain Reaction with unwavering zeal. The crowd lapped it up and giving Farnham further vitality as he goofballed with various members of the audience.
The middle portion allowed for a breather with Burn For You, a tender acoustic song written for his wife, whom he celebrates 45 years marriage next month. However the last third was a cracker with almost every song a recognised hit. That’s Freedom kicked off a call and response, the seminal Pressure Down set fire to every 80’s kid’s heart before the contender for our legitimate national anthem, You’re The Voice brought it home with a thunderous sing-a-long. One thing can be said though, Aussies sure do love a bagpipe interlude.
Which made it fitting that Farnham encored with AC/DC’s Long Way To The Top before bringing it all back down to Earth with A Touch Of Paradise, a song originally released by Mondo Rock.
The breadth of experience of this exceptionally strong lineup provided one of the best offerings by A Day On The Green in this summer’s series giving not only a nostalgic trip down memory lane, but more importantly a reminder of the impact these artists have had in Australian music.