Newcastle punters showed how keen they were to see iconic Aussie band, Icehouse with two sell out shows at the Cvic Theatre earlier this month.
The creators of radio hits Electric Blue and Great Southern Land, which were music chart favourites of both here and overseas in the 1980s and 1990s, did not disappoint their loyal fans. Putting on a tightly-tuned set, Icehouse took their audience on a magical journey through their back catalogue, from Flowers’ tracks to Man of Colours.
The Icehouse boys were competently supported by Australian singer-songwriter Alex Lloyd, who set the tone for the evening. Offering an acoustic set including singles from his breakthrough album, Watching Angels Mend, such as Green, Everybody’s Laughing, a heartbreaking cover of Hallelujah, and a sing-along version of the romantic number, Amazing.
Lloyd showed that he still is one of Australia’s best male vocalists, and joked and engaged with the audience in good humour. The only disappointment was that songs from the critically-claimed and synth-heavy Black the Sun, did not feature – possibly because these tracks might not translate well to an acoustic set.
The crowd was buzzing, eagerly awaiting the main act. When drummer Paul Wheeler slammed out the iconic rhythm of Great Southern Land, the audience was on their edge of their seats. Much-loved frontman, Iva Davies, then took over the stage with his enigmatic presence, and punters knew they were in for a night to remember.
The moody synths of the single Icehouse, set to an incredible light and vision show, lead to the catchy Mr Big and international breakthrough single, Hey Little Girl. The audience were impassioned to sing along to the rock ballad Crazy, before Davies took the spotlight to seduce his fans with the atmospheric No Promises.
The radio favourite, Electric Blue, caused the audience to dance and run down the aisles, before Davies stepped aside for vocalist and guitarist Michael Paynter, to give a powerful performance of 1990s hit, Touch the Fire.
The incredible musicianship and talent of Davies, guitarist Paul Gildea, Paynter, bassist Steve Morgan and saxophonist Glenn Reither, became undeniably clear when they treated the audience to an acoustic version of Street Cafe.
The atmospheric Man of Colours and Don’t Believe Anymore were highlights, as was the audience participation during Miss Devine. Everyone sang along to the iconic Aussie anthem, Great Southern Land, before Icehouse jumped into their Flowers new-wave punk roots with high-energy renditions of I Can’t Help Myself, We Can Get Together and an encore of favourites including Sister. All those lucky enough to be at the Civic Theatre that night were up on their feet and dancing just like they did in the 1980s.
It’s no wonder this tour has been a sell-out for Icehouse. By the diverse mix of fans in attendance, it’s evident that these talented musicians have contributed to the life soundtrack of Aussies of all ages. They certainly have not lost their ability to put on a powerful showcase of their songs that have helped shape the musical psyche of Australia.
With songs of their country, and the charming banter between the band mates on the stage; it would have been hard for any punter to have left this gig without a dance in their step, and a sense of pride in their heart.