It was an all Aussie affair at Bimbadgen Estate in the Hunter Valley for Saturday’s A Day On The Green. Armed with a ticket upgrade that got us a patch of grass smack bang right in front of the stage, we got ready for a trip down memory lane back to a time of Jane Gazo, request fest & festivals that weren’t cancelled due to out of touch state governments.
Despite having a good read of the Newcastle Live guide to surviving Hunter Valley vineyard concert season, by the time we packed up our picnic basket (yep, you can still take your own food and bottled water into ADOTG) we were a little later getting onto the Hunter Expressway than we’d hoped. Trust us, people, read the guide and get there early
We get our spot, manage to secure a bottle of Semillion and hear that Perth-based singer-songwriter, Stella Donnelly is a delight. And let us tell you, those few extra few dollars for a ticket upgrade is an investment in your sonic, visual & spacial enjoyment. By the time we’re all set up, Dan Sultan takes to the stage.
This is a swoon inducing set from Sultan – more like a hit parade in a cowboy hat if anything. He makes only one misstep from “alt-rock/country guitar god status” when he awkwardly replaces ‘Meredith’ with ‘Bimbadgen’ during The Same Man. This is soon forgotten as he takes a moment to tell the crowd he is “8 months clean and healthy”, getting married and having a baby! There is a united cheer for the news, and a powerful performance of Hold It Together follows.
The next artist to grace the stage is the sweet, petite Missy Higgins and her band who are prepped & poised – only to be promptly kicked off because she’d forgotten to include the minor detail of a four-minute piano ballad solo on the set list.
Missy’s voice is sublime. To our right, an older gentleman, sharing the concert with his two adult daughters sheds a tear. The band returned and between climate change chats and covering Slim Dusty with Sultan, Missy gives a stellar performance which is closed with her smash hit Steer, promoting mass swaying and a sing-along amongst the audience.
Thundering triple drums and signature slide guitar announced the arrival of headline act John Butler Trio with their opener, Wade In The Water. A bit of MF banjo later and a stripped back intro to Betterman gets us firmly in the feels and takes us right back to its 2001 release. And. There it was. The extended guitar solo we were all anticipating. John Butler may be sans dreads but lacking in a solid solo strum sesh he is not.
With the sky growing darker, under an almost full-moon the tunes continued. Throughout the glorious Hunter Valley afternoon and into the evening we were all reminded just how incredible these vocalists really are, that music is a powerful medium to communicate a message, and that wine
The Coming Home Tour hits Hobart on Sat 23 February.
A Day on The Green, Bimbadgen will welcome Kylie and Bryan Adams in coming weeks. Hit their website for details
A Day On The Green Photo Gallery
Thanks to JB
Words by Mel Hutchinson