Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Sheppard, Neon Tetra @ Botanic Park, Adelaide 14/10/2018

Not even the power of rock was enough to stop the rain for what was an awesome show with four quality acts. The rain definitely didn’t dampen the collective enthusiasm and spirit with fans making the absolute most of it in one of Adelaide’s best outdoor spaces Botanic Park. It was a sea of ponchos and any other inventive ways to stay dry.

Local band Neon Tetra no doubt would have been rubbing their hands together playing to a huge crowd that was building. I’ve heard the stories about how good these guys are and those stories are spot on. Hot damn! Definitely a band to keep an eye out on who have plenty of good stuff ahead of them.

It was the first time seeing Sheppard also and they no doubt got the party started. They look good, sound great and make plenty of the right noises. Opening with Coming Home George Sheppard promised that they would be our best friends for the next hour or so. Even though Sheppard are two albums in to their career they have an armoury of solid hits and songs that will be hits to play. Love Me Now, Edge Of The Night and We Belong were great. With the threat of rain looming there was a promise they would jump out in to the crowd and join us. As Amy Sheppard pointed out thinking she was looking at blue hair in the crowd was actually the crowd decked out in blue ponchos.

Let Me Down Easy was for the long time fans and George said he needed to wet the whistle for the next party trick taking on Riding The Wave. The crowd were really in to them with songs such as Choke and Sorry impressing. Amy said to get out the blue wigs out as its raining. George thought he felt so Australian singing the next and wished it was theirs as it had made a gazillion million dollars giving the Moving Pictures’s classic What About Me a crack. I absolutely loved Halfway To Hell, what a song! Amy’s vocals are oh so hot! Sheppard kicked things up a notch finishing their set with the mega hit Geronimo which got people up and out of the chairs and if they didn’t know the words to this one they did by the end. Sheppard are a great band and a really good fit for the bill and let’s hope their next appearance is their own show in Adelaide.

Say no more but Cheap Trick was up next. Beyond excited was an understatement. Rain or no rain I was hell bent on enjoying this one. With a pre-recorded announcement saying “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the best band in the f***ing [bleep] world Cheap Trick”. It was game on rocking in to Hello There and relative new tune You Got It Going On off We’re Alright! Take a breath Robbie! Phew! Next it was Big Eyes followed by a cover by The Move in California Man. By this stage it was pissing down but for some reason it didn’t seem to matter. Rick Nielsen introduced the band as “the one and only Cheap Trick, don’t accept any substitutes”. With that in mind and having not played in Adelaide in a long time he asked the crowd to sing the next one loud launching in to If You Want My Love. Pretty awesome sing-a-long in the rain.

The great tunes kept Botanic Park rocking with She’s Tight and On Top Of The World. The great man Robin Zander spoke saying “It’s raining, so what!” [yep! exactly]. Ain’t That A Shame (another cover) is a ripper and in a touch of ultimate irony given the weather the next one was their latest single The Summer Looks Good On You. Tom Petersson was let loose playing a bass solo before knocking out a stellar version of The Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For The Man. Fark! That was great! The crowd found plenty of voice to sing-a-long to The Flame with that good time vibe continuing on I Want You To Love Me. Dream Police was epic followed by Never Had A Lot To Lose from the Lap Of Luxury had plenty of zing. The end was near as they pulled out all stops with Surrender and closing their set with Goodnight Now (which is the companion song to Hello There to close out their set). Fingers crossed for a return visit rumoured to be in March next year.

The rain continued with no signs of it letting up. Right about now there’s no doubt the collective resolve would have been tested as the rain soaked through all layers of clothing. Soldiering on it was the mighty Foreigner with the highly talented ANU Orchestra up next. Front man Kelly Hansen introduced the format of the show and what they would be playing referring to the album they recorded in Switzerland with an orchestra. He mentioned that this was a huge undertaking making a big decision to take it on the road saving the best for last – Australia! Before finishing and letting the orchestra start the show Hansen made the statement that it is still a rock show and fuck the rain.

There’s no denying the talent on show with ANU Orchestra, brilliant. With a brief intro and band took to the stage to rip in to Blue Morning, Blue Day followed the first of many gold hits in Cold As Ice. Music lovers can debate the relative merits of the Foreigner line up with the only original Mick Jones at the helm but take nothing away Foreigner are a class act. Kelly Hansen (ex-Hurricane) is a brilliant singer making it hard to pick the difference if any. So many great hits with Waiting For A Girl Like You, That Was Yesterday and the acoustic flavoured Say You Will was fantastic. The acoustic touch was given to their most recent single The Flame Still Burns which Mick Jones wrote for the movie Still Crazy which coincidentally was played by a fictional band in the film. The song also appeared on a highly collected ten inch vinyl release.

The big hits continued with Double Vision and Feels Like The First Time. With energy of the crowd being suppressed by the rain Hansen encouraged the crowd to find that twenty year rocker from within even asking how many wild women were out there proceeding to play Dirty White Boy. Hansen asked the security to relax as everyone was having a good time taking it up a notch with Urgent and finishing the main set with Juke Box Hero. It was hard to believe an hour whizzed past. Returning for an encore the big rock ballad I Want To Know What Love Is was the moment to knock away all the negative feelings and let the groove take charge. It was a great moment in the set finished in epic style with gargantuan hit Hot Blooded. Despite the rain and the tough conditions this was a still a great event and Space Events have plenty more in store for the summer. Let’s hope the return visit to Adelaide for Foreigner is not a long next time.

Live Review by Rob Lyon

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