Stepping out of the car, you’re quickly reminded it’s the first day of summer as the sun beats down and the temperature threatens to move to the wrong side of 30 degrees, we’re on the inside at a Day On The Green, early enough to witness the Bimbadgen Cup, as the gates open and the punters roll in, the millennials jostling for that prime position, either side of the walkways, whilst the cashed-up baby boomers, at a more experienced pace make their way to the seated section, it would be an hour or more till show time, time enough for a drink or two and a bite to eat & to kick back and enjoy the theatrics and tunes from resident DJ Grand Master Baitz.
When the Emcee Master Bates steps up an announces that this is the 455th Day On The Green, you can be confident that they’ve got it right, a tried and tested formula travelling the length and breadth of Australia for what seems like forever and what a lineup for the first Day On The Green in the Hunter Valley, the back half best described as a history lesson of Australian rock and roll but when you’re first up before 3 pm it’s a tough spot to fill, but nobody told Batchelor Girl, straight out of the late nineties, playing like headliners dropping all their hits including I’m Just A Girl, Permission To Shine and Busses and Trains.
When Richard Marx strolled out you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’d stepped out of a James Bond movie, more swagger than walk with an outfit to match and this image was reinforced mid-set when he paused to sip from a martini, with a set list that left the front rows shaken but not stirred including Endless Summer Night, Should Have Know Better and Right Here Waiting.
From time to time, one needs to do a little research prior to these events, relying on Spotify to acquaint one’s self with the lineups, but not today, as I’m one of those baby boomers, moving at a relaxed pace, the truth is most of us can’t move any quicker and I’m more than a little excited for happens next.
Russell Morris, just wow, I’m reluctant to use words such as icon or legend as the day is still young and there’s so much more to come, but the truth is there are no words to describe the performance of Russell and his band, simply the best and with over 50 years in the game, I’m not sure how you choose your set list, but beyond thrilled to hear the classics such as Wings Of An Eagle and The Real Thing.
As the day gave way to nightfall Bimbadgen turned on a magical sunset but nobody saw it as the artist that needs no introduction, Daryl Braithwaite fired up, no chat just business with an eclectic set list that transcended the decades with a little bit of something for everyone drawing on his extensive back catalogue and a cover or two, he had the crowd from the get-go and took it to the next level with Sherbets Howzat and they nearly lost it when he performed that song, The Horses in what would normally be a fitting finale, but there was one to come.
Now here’s the thing, we all go through life with a bucket list, ticking boxes of as we go, but I didn’t realise that John Farnham was on my list till last night, but I’m so glad I ticked that box, a legend and an icon and so much more, flat out from the get-go and deadest better than lego, performing all the hits and then some including Queens, We Will Rock You, A Touch Of Paradise and You’re The Voice, few will know that John Farnham was crowned the King Of Rock from 1969 till 1974 and after last nights performance, its fair to say that he still is and it’s a crown that he wears well.