Artists: John Farnham / James Reyne / Jon Stevens / Vanessa Amorosi / Southern Sons
Date: November 16th 2019
Venue: Riverstage, Brisbane
Reviewer: Hayley Treadwell
Photographer: Hang Me On Your Wall Photography
Regional Touring have done it once again. You may know them from Red Hot Summer Tour, which has been a raging success for many years, and if the way they treat the artists and punters is anything to go by One Electric Day will be going strong for a long time to come.
Emily Wurramara started off the day, and it was great to have a local Brisbane artist to kick off preceedings. The fans were already out in strong force for Emily’s set and she was incredibly well received.
25+ years is a long time in anyone’s book, but for a band to be apart, is something else. One Electric Day marked the return of the brilliant Aussie rock band Southern Sons. Jack, Virgil and Co. made it seem like they had never left. Jack performing “Hold Me In Your Arms” acoustic and solo made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and amongst all the hits they played in their set, many fans took a trip down memory lane. They pretty much drowned out the band when they kicked in to the set closer “Heart In Danger”, and I have to say Jack and Virgil’s line for the signing was enormous, so its clear they have been missed.
Vanessa Amorosi was up next and had the entire crowd on their feet from beginning to end. All the hits you expected were there, but it was also a treat to hear some songs from her new album thrown in. The big surprise was the cover of the Eurythmics “Would I Lie To You”, which got the crowd up out of their seats, which was great as Vanessa then made her way through the crowd to come and party with Brisbane.
Jon Stevens hit the stage next and played a mixture of tracks from Noiseworks and his time with INXS. The things I love about Jon doing the INXS material is not only is he keeping it alive, but he is also not trying to be Michael Hutchence. He puts his personality into the songs. Songs like “Never Tear Us Apart” and “New Sensation” fit perfectly with the Noiseworks songs like “Hot Chilli Woman” and “Take Me Back”. I have seen Jon a few times over the past few years and I can safely tell you his voice is the strongest I have ever heard it and his band is next level.
James Reyne came on stage next with really no fanfare, and to be honest his set was much the same. The acts that came before him kept building and building the atmosphere and James set full of slow songs knocked the wind out of it, but I know the Australian Crawl fans loved hearing some of their songs dusted off live. I think he would have been better off kicking off the day than right before the headliner.
Speaking of headliner. They get no bigger, no better, and no more badass than John Farnham. Coming out of the gate with Queens “We Will Rock You” was brilliant and the set never let up from there. Ever the performer John has been known throw his mic stands across the stage, in the air and was pre “Bottle Flip Challenge”. Tonight, only one stand became a sacrificial lamb, as he kept it tame, but let his vocals do the talking.
While age is only a number, let me remind you, John Farnham is 70. Singers half his age couldn’t deliver with the power, clarity and perfection he did. From tracks like “Two Strong Hearts”, which saw the crowd doing the dance moves with the backing singers, to “Chain Reaction” to “Touch Of Paradise”, Farnham was vocally flawless. You would have thought you were at home with the album on. It was just that good.
Long time guitar player Brett Garsed just absolutely shreds. He is one of Australia’s unsung guitar gods and Farnham gives him many moments to shine as he does with all his band. He wants the crowd to know this is his touring family and treats them as such. Johns crowd interaction is something a lot of artists can learn from too, and while camera phones can be quite the distraction, John made sure he pulled some epic poses for the fans up front, even if they kept yelling out for him to sing “Sadie”, which he busted out mind you.
As the set drew to a close everyone knew what was coming. As the intro to “You’re The Voice” started, Riverstage erupted. Once again a flawless performance vocally, and when the pipers came out for their solo spot, it is safe to say there were not many dry eyes in the house. It was going to be difficult to go up from there, but don’t forget, this is John Farnham. How else do you close it out? AC/DC , that’s how. John and band ripped through “A Long Way To The Top” and made it their own. What a way to end.
I think sometimes Australian’s forget the insane amount of local talent we have. Thankfully with things like One Electric Day, Regional Touring will be reminding us just how great our music scene is. Another great day from them, which the thousands of people at Riverstage would certainly agree.