LIVE REVIEW: The Red Hot Summer Tour 2013, feat. Jimmy Barnes, Baby Animals, Ian Moss, Chocolate Starfish, and Dragon
The Red Hot Summer Tour
Sunday 20th January
Morning Star Estate, Mt Eliza
Fronted by Mark Williams, Dragon seemed to care more about getting the crowd to sing along than actually playing their songs properly. With a short set consisting of only six tracks, they played all the really big hits – “Rain”, “Are You Old Enough?”, “April Sun in Cuba”, etc. – however they probably could have given “Celebration” a miss. Having released twenty-five singles throughout their career, surely there were enough songs to choose from that they didn’t have to play their own dodgy cover. Particularly as, having a different vocalist, it was actually more like a dodgy cover of a dodgy cover.
Playing only five songs – including, of course, their only hit: a cover of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” – Chocolate Starfish seem to be stuck in 1994. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but it has been almost twenty years since anybody heard from this band, and now they’re apparently back in the studio recording new material. I’ll be interested to see how that goes. Mocking aside, however, Adam Thompson worked the crowd very well. There was just one thing about their set that I didn’t quite understand: why the hell didn’t they finish on their biggest song?! “You’re So Vain” was played second last, and instead of finishing on a high, they ended their set with a new track. It was very strange.
The first Cold Chisel member of the day played a fairly stripped-back set, which was quite a contrast to Chocolate Starfish. He performed a varied combination of solo material – from the obvious ones [“Telephone Booth” and “Tucker’s Daughter”] to some of his more recent releases [the names of which I do not know]. Mossy also threw in a couple of Chisel tracks. “Bow River” was not unexpected [and was, of course, excellent], but his version of “Choir Girl” [on which Jimmy usually takes lead vocals] blew me away.
Suze DeMarchi was one of the first rock chicks that I ever listened to, which is why I’ve wanted to see the Baby Animals for years. Back in 1991, their debut album peaked at number one and went eight times platinum, setting the record for the highest-selling debut Australian rock album [until they were beaten by Jet, twelve years later]. That’s quite a feat, but they were well deserving of it – and they still are! Suze DeMarchi is just as much of a performer now as she was back then. Songs like “Early Warning” and “Rush You” aren’t easy to sing – but she does it effortlessly. Their set was packed full of singles [“One Word” and “Painless” were both there too], but, like Chocolate Starfish, they ended with a nothing track. I don’t know why.
By the time we’d reached the headline act, people were getting pretty sloppy. All they wanted to do was sing along very loudly to songs that they’ve known for years. Thankfully, Jimmy Barnes was at their service. Exactly as you’d expect him to perform, Barnesy had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. While unlike Ian Moss his voice hasn’t held up too well over the years, he can still belt out enough of a tune to keep the punters happy. He did “Working Class Man” and “Khe Sahn” and “Lover Lover” and everything else people wanted to hear, finishing up the night with “Goodbye [Astrid Goodbye]”.
A couple of notes about the venue:
In an email sent out to ticket holders the day before the event, it was specified that BYO food would not be admitted, however many people around us had brought in picnics. This seemed a little unfair. The email also had listed incorrect times for both the gates opening and Dragon’s set, which may have inconvenienced people. I was also not terribly impressed with the alcohol service there. While most venues have a limit to how many drinks can be purchased by a person at one time, on Sunday they were allowing people to buy as much as they want. After a while, they stopped even opening cans and bottles for people, just handing over the sealed drinks. I’m pretty sure that this would have been against their liquor license agreement. Seeing the amount that people around us were drinking – I saw one guy walking around with eight sealed bottles of Peroni in his pockets and a six pack of Crown Lagers – I actually chose to leave before the last song had ended so as not to be on the road with too many drunk drivers. Had the cops set up a booze bus at the entrance [which unfortunately they hadn’t], they would have had a field day.