Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunsets for Powderfinger

The band almost every Aussie of my age range grew up with has called it quits after 20 years of music, and launched into a final set of gigs around the country as a farewell. Having scrambled for tickets to the announced last ever show in Melbourne, and the bizarre choice of last show ever to be in Ballarat, Melissa and I were bemused to see show after show added since then. But alas, we loved our last Powerfinger shows, a band bowing out when they are still very, very good.

The first of the last Melbourne shows was at Rod Laver, and if it wasn't for the footy result the weekend before, Melissa and I would have had tough decisions to make. As it was not to be, we meet at the steps of the tennis centre, with Robbie, Wendy, Lauren and Paul, and enjoyed some pre-gig drinks.

We made it into the arena ready for Jet, who only proved to me that I seriously don't listen to the radio. I think I recognised 2 or 3 songs, and the rest sounded the same to me! The home crowd loved them, though.

Opening with 3 favourites in a row, being Love Your Way, Lost And Running, and then the newer Burn Your Name, the setlist was so full of rock energy from the start, and the crowd were all so pumped, and loving every minute. Working their way through the range of back catalogue, and fresh album, Bernard and the boys put on a top performance.

Surprising the crowd by disappearing from the main stage at one point, to the bizarre video play of some Russian space footage...and then the band appeared at a stage at the back of the tennis court, and played a pub set of Like A Dog and Stumblin', just like their old days of starting out.

Feeling very much like a celebration of their music, rather than a sad farewell, the show rocked, played all the favourites and those gems they play just for a live audience.

The Ballarat gig was, of course, on one of the wettest weekends possible, and while the massive circus tent erected at North Gardens was the perfect shelter, it seems no one thought to deal with the mud underneath. Jessie, Health, Katie and I plotted our way to a spot which seemed the highest and driest, as we watched people try and navigate their way closer. One girl in thongs got stuck in front of us, and simply abandoned her useless footware. Paul Dempsey was the first support, and as soon as he started, just a giant man on the stage with his guitar, it was apparent that regardless of the conditions around us, the sound was spot on. Whilst playing some of his most awesome tracks from his solo album, plus his new one, his MGMT cover of Time To Pretend was such an amazing highlight!

Melissa arrived after a day at the races, and having seen Jet at the last gig, we both decided we would do the group beer run. Back in time for the last couple of songs of the set, before the anticipation under the big top grew electric.

Playing a similar setlist to the one we had seen a month before in Melbourne, they also managed to trek through the mud to a stage in the middle of the circus tent, for their tracks on the smaller stage within the crowd. Finishing with a tent full of voices to My Happiness, Passenger, Pick You Up, which Bernard dedicated to the previous little gigs they have played in the 'Rat, and (Baby I've Got You) On My Mind. These Days, a fitting second encore to this musical journey.

Two very special shows to be part of. This weekend is the band's last shows, in their hometown of Brisbane. A sad time. Thanks for the memories, lads!

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