Last week I mentioned that I was given the opportunity to share a brilliant afternoon & evening of Aussie music at a ‘Day on the Green’ held at the Bimbadgen Winery in Hunter Valley vineyards, north of Sydney—man, what a score!
My brother has lived and breathed music for as long as my brain can recall. He surprised me with a last minute invitation for a ‘music, marquee and dining experience’ that we’ll both long remember. This unique concert opportunity was an absolute blessing as I’ve never faired well when out in the extreme Aussie heat, beneath full sun, which on this particular day claimed the sky until darkness nudged in—leading the way with a glorious pink horizon.
The marquee provided a much-needed sanctuary and was stocked with offerings so vast my Libran trait of indecision was immediately thrown into overdrive. For me, I felt like I’d found an oasis in the desert. The roof and walls—draped in lush, soft, cool, white fabric billowed and danced in the slightest breeze—suitably setting the scene by paying tribute to the artists on stage. A carpeted floor space was decked out with an array of seating—there were several long, decorated dining tables; bar stools surrounding makeshift, upturned wine barrels; several lounge zones; outside tables and chairs which were sufficiently shaded by umbrellas. Industrial fans and flat screen TV’s placed strategically about the marquee offered guests ultimate comfort, broadcasting the concert in real-time (and yes, I must admit that staying glued to comfort was extremely tempting!). Local wines and beer, as well as soft drinks and water were perpetually replenished, along with a scrumptious three course smorgasbord meal (or 30 courses should you chose to go back to all three courses, 10 times over)—beautiful antipasti inclusive of kangaroo terrine; followed by roasted meats and salads; finished off with fresh seasonal fruits, caramel & strawberry tarts, and a chocolate mud cake that had such a dense, thick, chocolaty texture it resembled rich chocolate mouse—all spread out for the taking. And for those who surrendered all too often to the offerings, the ultimate in luxury was a toilet block allocated for marquee patrons only, barricaded off from the maddening crowd. And although the privileges of this new experience felt somewhat foreign to me it’s something that I will always remember as not only a brilliant experience but for me, on this roasting hot summer day, as a rescue remedy.
I considered how easily this lavish setting could coax some people to forget the reason we’d all gathered in the vineyard in the first place—to watch a great line up of iconic Australian music… and watch, we did! As marquee guests, we were given passes to come and go at leisure to assigned seating 100 metres front and centre of the main stage. Seriously, what a brilliant way to see bands and artists like Boom Crash Opera, The Angels, Ian Moss, Daryl Braithwaite, and Richard Clapton with Jimmy Barnes headlining. Their sounds, individually and collectively, took me back to a different place in time, but none more so than Daryl Braithwaite.
Truth be told, I shared a piece of my history with a couple of Wauchopians (Amanda and Kylie) and my story went like this... Years ago, my mates and I were probably around the age of 14 or 15 and one day, during our school holidays we set off on an exploration in search of Daryl Braithwaite’s house – which we found!!! And to which (we assumed at the time) his lovely wife surrendered to our desperate plea to use their bathroom. When drying my hands after washing them, I remember thinking and ‘believing’ that I may be experiencing a historical moment—I may be touching a towel that Daryl Braithwaite himself has already touched—I turned spontaneously and touched the toothbrushes too (just in case I’d happened upon the bathroom once the washing had been done and fresh, clean towels were put on display!) Hahaha! After that triumph we headed to Robertson Park in Sydney’s Watson’s Bay and were gobsmacked to ‘hear’ Sherbet practicing in a terrace house only a couple of doors along from the park. Of course, we did what any enthusiastic, young teenage fans would do after we hunted them down like typical groupies after they answered the door—we offered them a stick of chewing gum, which they politely accepted! Hahaha! What a hoot—I love my mates and the memories we share (we’re still keep in touch and this story, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, for some reason still keeps finding its way into our conversations and it makes us giggle, all over again). Okay Kay… you’re tangenting! (I’m aware the word is ‘tangent’ but here, ‘tangenting’ seems more apt). Now, back to the music—
Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel) was a great surprise for me that evening, after we’d initially considered not staying for his performance. Although I think he’s a fantastic singer, in more recent years he seems to have taken to screaming instead of singing and any form of screeching is far too unpleasant for my liking (especially when you can’t even decipher unfamiliar words). This night was different—he sung beautifully for ‘most’ of his set and seemed to generously share the stage with everyone, highlighting the talent of others around him. He invited Ian Moss (Cold Chisel) back out to join him for several songs and the pure joy that was evident between these guys, regardless of their history, was extremely touching—something I felt privileged to have witnessed. I thought about the scene before me and felt whether they were in front of the 8,000-strong crowd that night or on their own—just two old mates jamming in a garage—I believe they couldn’t have been more immersed in a beautiful, perfectly connected, moment in time.
Among many a great song performed throughout this concert, my favourite on the day was When The War Is Over, written by Steve Prestwich. The song started with Jimmy’s back up singer taking the lead and singing solo; then after the first verse Jimmy joined in and took the lead and later throughout the song, Ian Moss joined Jimmy. During the song, behind them, a montage of war-related images was shown, heightening the message of these well-known words. These lyrics are an apt, perfect testimony to life, connection and feeling. For this week I’ll leave you with these wonderfully poignant, opening lines to When The War IS Over:
When the war is over, got to get away
Pack my bags to no place in no time no day
You and I we used each other's shoulder
Still so young, but somehow so much older
How can I go home and not get blown away
(When the War Is Over - written by Steve Prestwich)