Photography: Dot Hopkins
This was only the second Day on the Green to be held in Nagambie. The first, in January 2014, was a great success and Saturday’s event was certainly a big hit with the fans. With a very impressive all-star line-up that featured Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier, Models, Diesel, Baby Animals and headliners, Icehouse, how could you go wrong?
It was raining and rather cool as we set out on the drive from Melbourne in the morning but, by the time we reached Nagambie, the clouds had rolled away and there was not a drop of rain in sight. It was perfect weather for A Day on the Green, soaking up the atmosphere and listening to the music of five incredible Aussie acts, all of which have made a major contribution to the soundtrack of our lives (well, for my generation at least) and all this set against the scenic backdrop of Mitchelton Wines in regional Victoria.
As we arrived, people were claiming their positions on the lawn and preparing for an afternoon and evening of great entertainment and that is exactly what we got. Some brought a picnic, others decided to partake of the various food options available and, of course, the bar was well stocked and doing a roaring trade. And for those designated drivers who thought they might have had a little too much wine, there was a Roadie Breathalyser.
There was also plenty of merchandise available: band T-shirts, caps and CDs, all of which you could have signed by the artists after their performance.
Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier opened proceedings for the day with an acoustic performance which included songs from their most recent album, Ghost Stories; an album Deborah describes as being about ‘the Old Testament from an atheist Jewish perspective’. She suggested, in hindsight, that this could be ‘the reason nobody bought it.’ That said, the crowd seemed to love it, as they clearly did when the duo threw in Deborah’s hit from the late 80s, ‘Man Overboard’
For Models, this show was part of a rare national tour; their first in fifteen years in fact and for many in the audience, it was also a rare chance to see the band ‘live’ again and well worth the wait. They kicked off with an old favourite ‘Happy Birthday IBM’, with singer Sean Kelly noting that perhaps ‘Happy Birthday Apple’ might have been a better idea. The band fired up the crowd with a set full of Models hits including ‘I Hear Motion’ and ‘Out of Mind, Out of Sight’ getting the fans pumped. Bassist Mark Ferrie took over vocals on ‘Unhappy’ and keyboard player Andrew Duffield on ‘Pate Pedestrian’ before closing with the ‘surfer’ instrumental, ‘Telstar’.
Next to take the stage was Diesel and, yeah, he can really sing but there’s no doubt about it, the man can certainly make that guitar sing too! He plays with a passion and that passion was there full throttle at this gig and the energy was contagious as he ripped through his set with songs like ‘Cryin’ Shame’, ‘Tip of My Tongue’ and ‘I Don’t Need Love.’
The momentum was building for the next two acts as the MC announced a dance competition with the prize of a backstage tour. I think it was possibly at this point that the overabundance of wine (and other alcoholic beverages) kicked in and prompted some rather unique dance moves from various members of the audience; none of which were mine, I might add.
The place was all revved up by the time Baby Animals hit the stage in the early evening and got the place rocking. It was 1991 when the band released their first, self-titled album and now, twenty five years on, they are still firing on all cylinders and Suze was a powerhouse as she belted out hit after hit including ‘Painless’, ‘One Word’ ‘Rush You’ and ‘Early Warning’. Introducing ‘Don’t Tell Me What to Do’, the singer explained that the inspiration for the song came from the often misogynistic attitude of the music business toward females in the industry at that time, to which guitarist Dave Leslie responded with a good humoured prompting to get on with it. A definite highlight of their set was a pretty amazing tribute to the late David Bowie with a brilliant cover of his classic ‘Starman’ that was met with some very loud and appreciative cheering from the fans.
The sun was setting and the weather turned cooler as Icehouse hit the stage but it didn’t take long for things to heat up again as the band once more showed what they are made of, opening with ‘Mr. Big’, followed by ‘Hey Little Girl’, ‘Crazy’, ‘No Promises’…. (the list goes on but you get the idea) all accompanied by ever changing graphics on the large screen behind the band and an almost full moon rising in the night sky seemed to add a certain aura of magic to the evening. Iva never fails to deliver as the frontman with amazing vocals but he graciously handed those honours over to the band’s youngest member, Michael Paynter, for ‘Man of Colours’ and Michael did a brilliant job. There were many highlights; just a few include Glenn’s soaring sax solo on ‘Don’t Believe Anymore’ and a cover of T-Rex’s ‘Get it On’ which had everyone up dancing; and Paul and Mark joining Iva on acoustic guitar for ‘Miss Divine’. The set finished with an early Flowers song, ‘Can’t Help Myself’ before the band returned to the stage for the encore, ‘Cross the Border’ and the finale ‘Nothing Too Serious’.
As the music finished and the fans surged toward the exits and carparks, I could hear people commenting what a fantastic concert it was and what a great day they had and I have to agree. I definitely give it the thumbs up.
Review by Sharyn Hamey
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