The Maddens and Music Memories


How times have changed. (This is code for, “I’m getting old.”)

Back in the day when I used to go to many, many concerts, I could never have imagined sitting near a couple of young girls texting and Facebooking their way through a live show. Mainly because those things didn’t exist back in the day, but I just couldn’t imagine paying to see a concert and then not watching the stage for 90% of the night.

Anyway, enough reminiscing …. at least for a couple of paragraphs.

Last night Pauline and I headed to Crown Theatre to see The Madden Brothers. It was a great show with heaps of humour, fun, great musicianship and some amazing vocals. It was great to hear a bunch of Good Charlotte songs as well as the brothers’ more recent music.

Seeing a great band playing live was a great reminder of some of the dozens of concerts I’ve seen over many years. I’ve put a bit of a list together of some acts I’ve seen. I know that I’ve forgotten several over the decades but here’s a large selection of the live music I’ve experienced. Most were concerts but some, like Tina Arena’s 3 songs in a shopping centre, were shorter performances.

Not all have been personal favourites. Some were support bands for other acts that are listed here. Sometimes the support acts were better than the main act. Some I’ve seen several times with others only once. As you’ll see there are even a couple of ‘kids’ bands that I saw with Emily and James when they were very young.

I don’t get to as many concerts as I’d like these days so the list is a bit ‘retro’.

Adam Hall and the Velvet Playboys, Amy Grant, Aneiki, Angry Anderson, Australian Crawl, Billy Joel, Birtles, Shorrock Goble, Bob Carlisle, Bob Dylan, BogarnisCarman, Clannad, Cliff Richard, Colleen Hewett, Daryl Braithwaite, David Bowie, David Meece, DC Talk, Diana Krall, Dion, Dire Straits, Divinyls, Elton John (with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra), Elvis Costello, Feargal Sharkey, Gangajang, Garth Hewitt, Genesis, Glen CampbellGrace Knight, Hi-5, Hoi Polloi, Hoodoo Gurus, Hothouse Flowers, Human NatureINXS, James Morrison, James Reyne, James Taylor, Jimmy Barnes, Joan Armatrading, Joe Jackson, John Farnham, Jon English, Kate Ceberano, Keith Green, Kenny Marks, Larry Norman, Leslie Phillips (now Sam Phillips), Linda Ronstadt, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Lou Reed, The Madden Brothers, Margaret Becker, Mental as Anything, Motels, Neil Diamond, Newsboys, Olivia Newton-John, Paul Kelly, Perfect Strangers, Phil Collins, Randy Stonehill, Ray Charles, Ray Davies, Rez Band, Robert Cray Band, Rogue Traders, Ross WilsonRoxette, Sade, Sensitive New Age Cowpersons, Simple Minds, Spandau Ballet, Split Enz, T-Bone Burnett, The Angels, The Saints, The Wiggles, Tina Arena, Tom BurlinsonTom Petty & the Heartbreakers, U2, Van Morrison, Vijay Benedict, Violent Femmes, WA Symphony OrchestraWendy Matthews, Whiteheart

I’d be interested in hearing about a few of the concerts you’ve seen. How many do we have in common? How many of the acts that I’ve listed here have you seen live?

I tried to list a few of my favourites but it was too hard to narrow down.

By the way, if you went to any concerts with me that I’ve missed, please let me know. I’ll probably update the list from time to time as I remember more.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading The Maddens and Music Memories? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Slava’s Snowshow Melts Hearts in Perth


I’d forgotten just how good Slava’s Snowshow is and how many surprises there are along the way while watching the show. I last saw the show almost four years ago when I took my then ten year old son.

I headed along to the opening night of the current season of Slava’s Snowshow at the Regal Theatre last night. It’s been said that Snowshow is to clowning what Cirque du Soleil is to Circus.

It was a dream. A dream that on Thursday the 13th it snowed in the auditorium of the “New Opera” theatre in Moscow. Snow covered the entire floor, all the chairs, and all those who sat in them. A marvellous dream it was. Well-disposed oligarchs and icy pop stars in tuxes smiled in beguilement, even dropping themselves into the gathering snowdrifts. Suddenly a wind began to blow, hard as only hurricanes know, and music to deafen one’s ears to sepulchral silence. Fear gripped us in anticipation of what was to come.

But the lights came up – and out shuffled a clown with small, meditative Kabuki-theatre steps: a figure in vastly-oversized yellow overalls and red fluffy slippers. A rope in his hands coiled into a noose, then – slipping like rosaries through his fingers – framed his face in portrait, became a leash, then a jump-rope, and then an Alpinist’s life-line… a hawser from which a friend – one of a clan of buffoons in hats with helicopter-blade ear-flaps and ski-esque elongated booties – dragged himself out…

I dreamt that there is no such thing as postmodernism, but only the primacy of feeling, an ancient purity of emotion. The touch of fine fingers on a spot-lit balloon in the dark… And – look – the balloon has flown away! Slava the clown weeps. With forbidding whistle, he sternly orders it back; with gentle persuasion, he beseeches the escapee to return; he blisters and boils with rage, then whistles out his longing. And the balloon drifts back, bulging a fat yellow smile, dangling its rosy little thread by his side, and then! – explodes in his arms. The poor baggy sod in red slippers – he couldn’t withstand the momentary bliss of his sudden repossession…

I’m feeling a little conflicted right now. I so much want to tell you about the magic of the show. I want to describe the excitement of the various elements which make up the experience but I don’t want to spoil the surprises for anyone who may go to the show. And I can assure you, there are plenty of surprises.

You may have been to shows before that let a few audience members interact with the cast. This show isn’t like that. When you go to Slava’s Snowshow everyone will have opportunity to be part of the show in one way or another.

It may be called a ‘snow show’ but it has the effect of melting hearts. You can see walls continuing to come down until each and every person in the theatre is totally immersed in the experience. Even those adults who earlier sat quietly as they enjoyed the entertainment on stage are transported back in time to become children again.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but one of the most moving moments is when the action moves from the stage and ends up with adults effectively being given license to play like children. I defy even the most hard hearted to leave the show without having been swept up in the glorious emotion of the evening.

Slava’s Snowshow is on in Perth at the Regal Theatre until the 4th of August. If it ever comes to a theatre near you … don’t miss it.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Slava’s Snowshow Melts Hearts in Perth? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Cirque Du Soleil – OVO


Pauline and I were privileged to be guests at the opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s OVO on Sunday night. It’s difficult to judge the Cirque du Soleil shows against each other but I reckon that Ovo is my new favourite. I think I’ve seen about four of Cirque Du Soleil shows.

OVO is a headlong rush into a colourful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. The insects’ home is a world of biodiversity and beauty filled with noisy action and moments of quiet emotion.

When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object that represents the enigma and cycles of their lives.

It’s love at first sight when a gawky, quirky insect arrives in this bustling community and a fabulous ladybug catches his eye – and the feeling is mutual.

OVO is overflowing with contrasts. The hidden, secret world at our feet is revealed as tender and torrid, noisy and quiet, peaceful and chaotic. And as the sun rises on a bright new day the vibrant cycle of insect life begins anew.

I posted an update on Facebook during the intermission. “I’m sure that most of the performers are aliens. The thing they’re doing are not humanly possible. Incredible.” It’s hard to believe that the human body can bend into so many different shapes. I reckon that I could probably force my body to bend like that if I had my skeleton removed. The performers were absolutely amazing.

Check out this video for a sample of the amazing show.

The action is so fast that I reckon that even if you went a couple of times you’d still miss bits and pieces. We get so spoiled in this TV age don’t we? Have you ever found yourself wanting to freeze frame a real life moment or watch something you’ve just seen again in slow motion? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our brains were all fitted with hard drive recorders? I guess they are in a way … that’s where memory comes in to play … but sometimes it’d be great to see things again. I felt a bit that way watching OVO. There were times when it would have been good to be able to rewind and slow the action down a bit.

The costumes and the set were incredible and gave the performance a wonderful sense of the surreal. It all combines to transport you to another world.

If you get the chance to go and see OVO make sure you grab it with both hands.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Cirque Du Soleil – OVO? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Perth Royal Show 2011

It’s on again.

The Perth Royal Show begins at the Claremont Showgrounds this Saturday and runs until the following Saturday the 8th of October.

The Perth Royal Show is Perth’s biggest community event attracting 400 000 visitors from the city and the country every year. It has a history spanning over 170 years and serves to showcase WA agriculture, small business and entertainment.

An interesting element of this year’s show is that it’ll be smoke free for the third year. Smokers will have one area within the showgrounds where they can light up while the rest of the event will be free of second hand cigarette smoke. It’s a great move forward.

Thanks to the State Government’s support of CHOGM 2011, all children aged 12 years and under will receive free entry to this year’s Perth Royal Show when accompanied by an adult.

98.5 Sonshine FM is broadcasting live from the show for the first seven days.

I’m really looking forward to presenting my Morning Café radio programme, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Monday to Friday next week as well as hosting this Sunday from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.

I’ll have a range of interesting guests and will probably get involved in some weird situations.

If you’re thinking of heading to the show this year, make sure you drop in to our broadcast centre and say hello. We’re be overlooking the main arena right next to the Members’ Grandstand.

Broadcasting from the show instead of our Como studios will almost double the distance I’ll have to cycle which will be great training for our cancer ride coming up in a few weeks.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Perth Royal Show 2011? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Losing Sleep Over Sport

Technology is a wonderful thing. Instead of waiting days or months to hear results from sporting events on the other side of the globe, we now watch sport live wherever it is being played.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup is currently happening in South Africa and so football (soccer) fans all over the world are watching hours and hours of the world game. Many of those watching are on a completely different time zone so they’re watching their televisions through the night and trying to stay awake at work each day. I’m not such a fan so I’m happy to just hear the results the next morning.

For tennis fans, Wimbledon is about to get underway. Again, fans around the world will stay up late to see their heroes battle it out on centre court. I don’t mind watching tennis but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

At various times of the year there are all kinds of sports that are played on the other side of the world, dictating late nights and sleepy mornings. Cricket, Formula One, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the list goes on.

Now it comes to my weakness. Cycling. The Tour de France starts on Saturday the 3rd of July. I may well be losing vast amounts of sleep over the three weeks of the tour. I won’t watch every moment live but there will be some exciting stages that will keep me glued to the television.

How about you? Are you a sports tragic that watches all kinds of sport, no matter when it’s being played? Do you have a favourite sport that you enjoy watching live, even though it means you’re up in the middle of the night?

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Losing Sleep Over Sport? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.