It has been more than forty years since I first saw TMG perform live and I have lost count of the number of times I have seen them since that first gig.
The reformed TMG, with Steve Mulry on vocals and Mark Evans on bass, played their first gig at a packed Bridge Hotel in Sydney in July. The highly anticipated return of the band with original guitarists Les Hall and Gary Dixon and drummer Herman Kovac was something fans had long thought would never happen without their late friend and lead singer/bass player Ted Mulry. The band was, after all, named after Ted and without him… well, it didn’t seem to be in the realms of possibility. However, a few months ago, Ted’s younger brother Steve, also a singer, was asked to front the band for a tour entitled ‘This One’s For Ted’. Fifteen years after Ted had passed and in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their first hit single ‘Jump in My Car’, the time finally seemed right. So here we are with TMG circa 2016 and the show at the Bridge put the new version of the band out there for the first time and, I’m happy to report, the crowd loved it!
And now, their second show at Revesby Workers Club in Sydney on Saturday 3rd September, proved that it wasn’t just a ‘one off’. Some six weeks after that ‘debut’ Bridge show, there had been some tweaking and refinements made to the set and it paid off. ‘My Little Girl’ kicked off the set which was packed with hits like ‘Crazy’, ‘Jamaica Rum’, ‘Heart of Stone’ and ‘Darktown Strutters Ball’ and of course ‘Jump in My Car’ along with some old favourites like ‘Wanted Man’ and ‘Help Me Out’ and a more politically correct version of one of the band’s most popular ‘live’ songs, ‘I’m Free’.
‘Naturally’ merged into one of my personal favourites from ‘The TMG Album’, ‘Without You’ featuring Les Hall’s brilliant slide guitar.
There was a nod to bass player Mark Evans’ former band AC/DC with ‘Long Way to the Top’ and, as any true TMG fan would know, there had to be a Status Quo number in there somewhere and the rockin’ ‘Caroline’ certainly fit the bill.
As Steve explained to me in a recent interview, he and his brother had quite a different vocal style so he faced a bit of a challenge to deliver the songs with ‘authenticity’ but, in my opinion, he rose to the occasion and his brother, I believe, would have been proud of the result.
While most of the songs were sung by Steve, Gary took over lead vocals on a few including ‘Lazy Eyes’ and a solo acoustic rendition of Ted’s biggest solo hits ‘Julia’ and ‘Falling in Love Again’. It was an emotion filled moment when Gary acknowledged Ted’s presence in the room as he sat alone on the stage to pay homage to the band’s frontman who passed away in 2001and I, for one, felt that too. Ted was definitely there and I believe he would have given the thumbs up to the great performance given by his brother, his band mates and friends.
The show was a perfect opportunity for long time TMG fans to finally get their long awaited fix of the music they loved in the 70s and 80s from the original band albeit without Ted but with a very suitable ‘ring in’ in Steve Mulry and it was a fitting tribute to Ted and the songs that he, Les, Herm and Gary made famous all those years ago.
Queensland, it’s your turn next with shows in Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in November followed by one show only in Melbourne. Full details and tickets
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2016. All rights reserved